Chelsea has reached an agreement with Benfica to sign Argentina World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez for a British record 105 million pounds ($129 million), according to Sky Sports on Tuesday.
With the clock ticking on the transfer window, the clubs have been in negotiation about the structure of payments to meet the release fee in the player’s contract.
The fee would eclipse the 100 million pounds Manchester City paid Aston Villa for England midfielder Jack Grealish in 2021.
Fernandez was instrumental in Argentina’s World Cup campaign in Qatar, with the 22-year-old breaking into the starting lineup and playing every game, capping off the tournament by bagging the Young Player Award.
Benfica boss Roger Schmidt was not keen on seeing Fernandez leave but had said their hands would be tied if a club paid the player’s release clause.
Fernandez moved from Argentine side River Plate to Benfica only last year and has played 29 times in all competitions, scoring four goals and grabbing seven assists.
He is set to become Chelsea’s eighth recruit in the mid-season transfer window after the London club signed Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos, David Fofana and Malo Gusto, while Joao Felix arrived on loan from Atletico Madrid.
Fernandez’s transfer would take the club’s total outlay on players since last year’s takeover by an investment group led by American Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital to more than 500 million pounds.
Chelsea is 10th in the Premier League, 10 points adrift of a top-four spot. It next hosts local rival Fulham on Friday.
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