As the curtain came down on a thoroughly entertaining 2022 World Cup, the inevitable talk ensued regarding the stars and breakthrough surprises of the tournament. One of those names was Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez.
The Argentinian scooped the award for Young Player of the Tournament, after being instrumental in Argentina’s success. It’s worth remembering that this player only made his debut for the national team in a September friendly against Honduras. Like Julian Alvarez, he was also still playing top-flight Argentine football a mere five months ago.
Why Major Champions League Clubs Are in the Race for Enzo Fernandez
A Look at Fernandez’s Skillset
Fernandez typically operates as an eight or a six, and the quality of his passing is what stands him out from the crop of European midfielders. Data shows that Fernandez ranks in the top percentile for passes attempted per 90 and completes the highest number of progressive passes per 90 in Europe.
He also ranks in the top few for a whole host of other variables, such as shot-creating actions.
Admittedly, his final contribution in terms of goals and assists isn’t high. However, he remains instrumental in both Benfica and Argentina’s success in 2022 with his deep playmaking. Benfica won their Champions League group, which included both PSG and Juventus, and have taken 37 out of 39 available points in Liga Portugal so far this season.
Read More: Enzo Fernandez’s World Cup Final Performance
Where Could He Go?
As of this moment, there are four clubs that hold a strong interest in Enzo Fernandez, these being:
On the 27th of December, Fabrizio Romano stated that the Premier League was the most likely destination for the Benfica midfielder, but he would only leave in January if a club triggered his £105 million release clause. Real Madrid “appreciate” the player, but would only be willing to pursue a summer transfer.
His agent has also travelled to Europe to speak with interested clubs over the coming days and weeks. Another facet of this potential deal would be the 25% cut owed to River Plate. This would amount to over £26 million going to the Argentinian side. River Plate would return a huge profit, giving them spending power in the years to come.
Read More: Manchester United’s Scramble for Transfers
Reports on the 28th from Nizaar Kinsella of the Evening Standard and according to reputable Argentine outlet TyC Sports indicate that Chelsea are ready to break their transfer record to sign the Argentine midfielder for a value of around £105 million.
However, TyC did also mention that Benfica are “unwilling to jeopardise their good campaigns in the Champions League and their national league by selling Fernandez midway through the season”. If Chelsea do meet his release clause, it will ultimately be up to the player and his agent to decide.
When asked about his future, Enzo replied: “Right now I don’t know anything, that’s what my agent is taking care of. I don’t want to get into the subject, I’m focused on Benfica”. Whether or not the player is open to a move remains to be seen. What’s definite is that the fight for Enzo Fernandez will be hotly-contested, and the team lucky enough to gain his services is destined to have a classy midfielder ready to dictate play for years to come.