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Chelsea sign £106.8m Enzo Fernandez in record transfer as Benfica accept deadline day bid for Argent

Chelsea completed the £106.8 million ($131m) signing of Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez on Tuesday in a dramatic final act of the January window.

Saga dragged out all month

Deal had appeared dead

But negotiations revived just before deadline

WHAT HAPPENED? Benfica confirmed the sale of Fernandez in a statement on Tuesday night for a reported fee that breaks the British transfer record set by Jack Grealish in 2021. The Blues had also pursued Moises Caicedo late in the window, while they sold Jorginho to Arsenal and decided to keep Conor Gallagher in a string of high-stakes midfield decisions.

Fernandez, 22, has agreed an eight-and-a-half-year deal that will keep him under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2031.

AND WHAT'S MORE: River Plate will reportedly get a £26.7m cut of the transfer fee because of an agreement in their sale of Fernandez to Benfica in June 2022.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Fernandez joins Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Malo Gusto, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana and Joao Felix as January arrivals to Stamford Bridge. It's one of the busiest winter periods any club has ever had - a reflection of Chelsea's urgent desire to finish the season strongly. They're currently in 10th place in the Premier League.

WHAT NEXT FOR FERNANDEZ? Considering Chelsea played Felix in the Premier League just a day after his arrival from Atletico Madrid, there might not be much of a bedding-in period for Fernandez. Graham Potter's team play against Fulham on Friday and West Ham on February 11.

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