Chelsea finally agree a British record £105m deal to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica, with Blues co-owner Behdad Eghbali key in pushing move over the line with Argentinian set to sign EIGHT-and-a-half year contract
Chelsea have agreed a staggering British transfer record £105million deal for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez.
The eye-watering swoop for Chelsea’s No 1 January target headed into the last minutes of the transfer window as both clubs spent Tuesday locked in talks with over the transfer of the Argentina international.
At one point, it looked as though Chelsea would fail to get the deal for the 22-year-old over the line – but both parties finally made a breakthrough just minutes before the 11 pm deadline with Hernandez set to sign an eight-and-a-half year deal.
Chelsea and Benfica have agreed a £105 million deal for midfielder Enzo Fernandez
He has been one of the world’s most highly-rated players since his displays in Qatar
Chelsea’s co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali – who also sanctioned Jorginho’s move to Arsenal yesterday – led negotiations for the World Cup winner with Benfica from London.
Sources had earlier indicated that Chelsea could fall just short and were ready to turn their attention to completing a summer move for Fernandez because sealing a deal for this season was proving too difficult.
But last night’s agreement was met with huge relief given the club’s determination to complete the move in January.
It is understood the biggest hurdle the Londoners were trying to overcome was agreeing a payment plan for the record fee with Benfica.
Chelsea wanted to pay in six instalments, including one larger up-front payment.
Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali (left) is said to have been key in securing the deal
Benfica, however, originally wanted Chelsea to pay Fernandez’s £105m release clause in one go. Talks yesterday were primarily aimed at negotiating that obstacle, with Chelsea offering to reduce the number of instalments.
It is believed Benfica were willing to accept a payment structure of three instalments over two years and eventually a middle ground was reached.
Fernandez had always been open to a move, but has decided to stay out of talks out of respect to Benfica.
Despite the delay, Chelsea made preparations for his medical in Portugal and organised a private jet to fly him to England.
He is due to board the flight on Wednesday morning after completing the relevant paperwork.
The deal comes after Jorginho swapped Chelsea for Arsenal in a £12 million move
Benfica left the 22-year-old out of their squad to face Arouca on Tuesday and he also missed training on Monday. Personal terms are already agreed.
On a seismic day for the Stamford Bridge club, the Blues also sold Jorginho to Arsenal in a deal worth up to £12million.
The Gunners turned to the Italian on Monday after conceding defeat in their bid to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton.
They will pay an initial fee of £10million for the midfielder, who has signed an 18-month deal with an option for further year.
On manager Mikel Arteta’s role in him joining the Gunners, Jorginho said: ‘He tried a few times to get me before and it did not happen due to other reasons, not because of my wishes. So, of course, he had a big influence.’