Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez became the most expensive player in British soccer history after joining Chelsea from Benfica for 106.7 million pounds ($131.4 million), the Portuguese club announced Wednesday.
The fee surpassed the 100 million pounds (then $139 million) that Manchester City paid Aston Villa for England international Jack Grealish in August 2021.
Chelsea agreed to pay the release clause in the 22-year-old World Cup winner’s contract after a day of negotiations between Benfica and the co-owners of the Premier League club.
Who is Enzo Fernandez?
Enzo Fernandez scored Argentina’s second goa in an important Group C clash of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Fernandez, a central midfielder who plays for Portuguese club Benfica, impressed at the FIFA World Cup, scoring in the 2-0 win against Mexico.
It was his maiden goal for the national side in just his fifth appearance after slotting the ball into the far right corner with his right foot in the 87th minute following an assist from captain Lionel Messi. Earlier, Messi had given his team lead with a long-range effort in the 64th minute.
Incidentally, Fernandez is the youngest player to score a World Cup goal for Argentina since Messi in 2006.
Fernandez won the young player of the year for his performance at Qatar 2022.
Fernandez made his international debut for Argentina in September 2022 as a substitute in a 3-0 win against Honduras.
He is an academy graduate of the Argentine club River Plate. He made his debut for senior side in 2019 before playing two seasons on loan for Defensa y Justicia, another Argentine club. With Defensa y Justicia, Fernandez won Copa Sudamericana and Recopa Sudamericana, before returning to River Plate last year in a title-winning campaign.
Fernandez only joined Benfica from Argentine club River Plate in August, for a reported fee of around $10 million plus add-ons.
(with inputs from AP)