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Chelsea sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for Premier League record fee

Chelsea have signed Enzo Fernandez from Benfica after meeting the midfielder’s €121 million ($131m/£106m) release clause, the Portuguese side announced on Tuesday.

A statement from Benfica confirmed that a deal had been reached between the clubs over how Chelsea would pay the release fee for the 22-year-old, who has signed an eight-and-a-half year contract.

The deal breaks the previous Premier League record fee of £100m that Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish when he joined from Aston Villa in 2021.

Chelsea were still to confirm the deal, but according to reports in England the paperwork had been submitted on time and before the transfer deadline at 2300 GMT on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old impressed for Argentina as they collected the 2022 World Cup and was named the Young Player of the Tournament.

ESPN reported on Monday that Fernandez had already agreed personal terms with Chelsea and was pushing the Portuguese club hard to reach an agreement with the Blues.

He becomes Chelsea’s seventh signing of a busy January transfer window, following Benoit Badiashile, David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto into the club.

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt was not keen on seeing Fernandez leave, but had previously stated their hands would be tied if a club paid the player’s release clause.

Fernandez moved from Argentine side River Plate to Benfica in 2022 and has played 29 times in all competitions, scoring four goals and grabbing seven assists.

The deal takes Chelsea’s total outlay on players since last year’s takeover by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital to more than £500m.

Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League, 10 points adrift of a top-four spot. They next host local rivals Fulham on Friday.

Steve Carr

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