Enzo Fernandez is Chelsea’s £107m ‘musician’ – ready to turn their transfer revolution back towards winning trophies
IN Northwest Buenos Aires you have to be something special to stand out as Enzo.
Virtually every boy in the neighborhood is named after Enzo Francescoli, the legendary River Plate midfielder who played twice for the club in the 80s and 90s.
Enzo Fernandez was like that.
But now he’s on his own as Chelsea’s signing and most expensive player in British history.
At £107million, the World Cup-winning Argentina midfielder arrives in England with great expectations of meeting the outrageous fee – and fast.
Fernandez said: “I am grateful to Chelsea and its owners for doing everything they could to make me a part of this project.
“I’m happy and excited to join the Pride of London, play in the best league in the world and compete for the biggest trophies.”
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly added: “We are signing one of the brightest talents in global football.
“We are delighted to add him to Graham’s squad, we are sure he will be an important part of our team going forward.
“Enzo has shown his skills at the highest level, so we’re excited to see what he does in blue!”
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Perhaps Boehly and manager Graham Potter saw something in the nickname of the player who traveled with him from South America when he joined Benfica last summer.
Teammates called him “El musico” – “the musician”.
So named because Fernandez was known for conducting the entire team like a 10-piece orchestra from midfield.
He is 22 and has only played 71 club games in his career.
The 72nd could come in a home game against Fulham on Friday night.
Little known outside of the hipster community prior to November, Enzo is expected to lead Chelsea’s fast-growing and expensive international brigade into better times.
Chelsea are 10th from both domestic cups in the Prem and meet Borussia Dortmund in less than two weeks to remain in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
So Fernandez is entering a club that faces an uphill battle just to qualify for the Europa League and is expected to hit the ground running.
Discovered at the age of five by the renowned Argentinian scout Pablo Esquivel, he was already considered to be different from all other Enzos.
Esquivel said: “When he was five you could tell he was different, a different class.
“He was the leader of the team and all his passes were very clear. It was crystal clear that he was going in the right direction.”
Fernandez’ background is one of known relative poverty.
His parents were poor and the sacrifices they made to get him where he is now remains a driving force.
The tattooed wallpaper covering his body is not meant to intimidate him.
A small, harmless ink at the base of its throat spells “fe” – the Portuguese word for “faith”.
Coincidentally, his new teammate Mykhailo Mudryk has an identical one on his hands.
The Fernandez family are River Plate fanatics, hence his name.
Enzo Francescoli later played for Marseille and was so good that French star Zinedine Zidane even named a boy after him.
There is no doubt that Fernandez’s rapid transformation from impressive young midfielder to global star poses a huge risk for Chelsea.
Just a few months ago he played alongside Julian Alvarez for River Plate in the Copa Libertadores.
Both players are now in the prem and world champions.
River Plate sold Fernandez for just £16million last July.
They obviously knew a good thing, too, because they insisted on a 25 percent resale clause.
That means they’re now pocketing an extra £26m, bringing Fernandez’s combined fee to £42m, making him the most expensive Argentine ever.
But striker Alvarez, who scored six goals in a joint game, cost Manchester City just £14million after they bought straight in.
Chelsea have put pressure on a young man’s shoulders by using middleman Benfica and paying through the nose.
Dubbed a box-to-box midfielder, he uses both feet equally well, can shoot, defend and lead.
An Argentinian source told SunSport: “Chelsea have a new captain ready and waiting for when they want one.”
At Benfica he is most comfortable in a two-man midfield where he can play alongside a defensively oriented player.
More cautious observers from Stamford Bridge say it’s dangerous to put so much faith in a player when you’re watching him at the World Cup.
There is no doubt that Fernandez has quality – he was catapulted into Argentina’s World Cup squad after just two friendlies.
He was voted Young Player of the Tournament and took home a winner’s medal.
There’s no arguing about his passion for football either.
At just 15, he submitted an open letter to his idol Lionel Messi, who is toying with the idea of going abroad.
Teenager Fernandez wrote: ‘How are we supposed to convince you to keep playing when the rest of us suck at football?
“How are we supposed to convince you when we only had one percent of the pressure you endure every day, Lionel?”
Fernandez is in the process of getting a slightly better idea of what that pressure feels like.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7285792/fernandez-chelsea-musician-ready-to-direct-revolution/ Enzo Fernandez is Chelsea’s £107m ‘musician’ – ready to turn their transfer revolution back towards winning trophies