Chelsea confirmed the signing of Enzo Fernandez for a British record £107m fee, after they agreed a deal with Benfica late on deadline day.
The Argentine World Cup winner has been pictured on a private jet heading to London, where he is expected to be unveiled by Chelsea later today.
Chelsea’s record signing Enzo Fernandez (left with his agent Uriel Perez) has been pictured on his way to London after completing a staggering £107m fee from Benfica on deadline day
Fernandez (left) took to social media today to thank Benfica fans following his move
The pictured was shared on social media by his agent Uriel Perez who is seen sitting next to him and who also included a picture of the Chelsea badge on the image.
Fernandez has also taken to social media today to thank Benfica fans following his move.
He wrote: ‘Much obliged Benfiquistas. We wanted to thank my family for all the love received in these 5 months, I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.
‘Where I enjoy every moment to the fullest and always give my best. Let the press not stain what we built together because it was something wonderful that I had never imagined.
‘Thanks to all the collaborators who work too hard to make the institution much bigger than it is.
‘Thanks to my colleagues for always treating me in the best way and making me feel at home. Grateful to the club’s leadership and especially to Roger Schmidt, to all your staff for the trust and daily respect. I was very happy. THANK YOU@slbenficaI will always carry you in my heart.’
Chelsea this morning posted a video on Twitter in which they teased the unveiling of Fernandez sometime later today.
It contained a ticking clock, his name above the Chelsea badge, fans at Stamford Bridge and ended with a picture of the player himself.
Chelsea have effectively confirmed the signing of Enzo Fernandez with a teaser video
Chelsea and Benfica have agreed a £107 million deal for the Argentine midfielder (left)
He has been linked with a big move ever since his brilliant displays at the World Cup
The Argentine World Cup winner signed an eight-and-a-half year contract which could see him at the club until 2031.
Chelsea’s pursuit of Fernandez headed into the last minutes of the transfer window as both clubs spent Tuesday locked in talks to try and get the move wrapped up.
The club made preparations for his medical in Portugal and organised a private jet for him to board on Wednesday to fly to England.
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 11pm deadline.
Benfica confirmed the move in a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the clubs completed the necessary paperwork prior to the deadline. The Portuguese club also removed Fernandez from their list of players on the club website.
The Blues teased an announcement by changing their Twitter bio to an Argentina flag followed by a trophy emoji.
Then on Wednesday morning the BluwesChelsea’s co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali – who also sanctioned Jorginho’s move to Arsenal on Tuesday – led negotiations for the World Cup winner with Benfica from London.
Chelsea teased an announcement over the Fernandez deal by changing their Twitter bio
Benfica issued a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning to confirm the deal
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 Tuesday 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 co-owner Behdad Eghbali (left) is said to have been key in securing the deal
Chelsea wanted to pay in six instalments, including one larger up-front payment.
Benfica, however, originally wanted Chelsea to pay Fernandez’s £105m release clause in one go. Talks on Tuesday 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 decided to stay out of talks out of respect to Benfica.
Benfica left the 22-year-old out of their squad to face Arouca on Tuesday and he also missed training on Monday. Personal terms had already been agreed.
The signing brings Chelsea’s total spending in January to more than £323million.