Enzo Fernandez to fly to London after Chelsea agreed UK transfer record £105m on deadline day
The 22-year-old is now about to take a private jet to London to finalize the transfer and both clubs are scrambling to complete the necessary paperwork with the deal form after tonight’s 11pm deadline.
Fernandez will become the most expensive player in British football history, surpassing the £100 million Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish in 2021.
The move comes after a day of protracted negotiations between Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali and senior Benfica managers including chairman Rui Costa.
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Super-agent Jorge Mendes has played a key behind-the-scenes role in smoothing over a fractured relationship between the two clubs that was damaged in initial talks earlier this month.
Talks focused on a payment method that would be convenient for both parties, with Benfica wanting the full amount upfront, while Chelsea wanting to pay it in installments.
The financial package was important for Benfica, who did not have to sell the Argentina international due to his sound financial situation and with 25% thanks to his player’s former club, River Plate.
Fernandez will welcome the move after skipping several training sessions to force a move to Stamford Bridge.
It follows a verbal agreement in early January on a seven-and-a-half-year contract with an option for a further year.
Chelsea owners identified the Argentine midfielder as their main target in December when they were in Qatar to watch him win the World Cup.
Fernandez was named Young Player of the Tournament as Chelsea’s new army of sporting directors highlighted how his club’s data set made him fit for Graham Potter’s rebuild.
Chelsea were also aware that Jorginho and N’Golo Kante only had five months left on their current contracts.
Jorginho chose to go to Arsenal for £12 million, but it remains to be hoped that Kante will extend his contract.
The Blues have now broken the world record for spending by any football team by signing 17 players for over £550 million in the 2022-2023 season.
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