Chelsea has come with another clutch signing right before the end of the transfer window. The record-breaking signing of Enzo Fernandez will introduce new dynamics into the club. For the best sports betting casinos of February 2023, check out our CasinoDaddy pages!
In September 2022, Enzo Fernandez finally made his senior international debut. He won the World Cup for Argentina within a short period after becoming a starter. Even by the standards of contemporary football, the 22-year-old midfielder’s rise to the top has been quick; Benfica just acquired him from River Plate for almost €14 million last summer. With a €121 million move, Chelsea has now set a Premier League record for the most expensive player ever.
The impact of Fernandez has been nothing less than stunning. He made his River Plate debut in 2019, went on loan to Defensa y Justicia a year later, and then came back to River Plate in 2022 to make an impression under manager Marcelo Gallardo, scoring 10 goals in 28 appearances.
He was signed by Benfica in the summer of 2022, and they handed him the No. 13 jersey that had formerly belonged to club icon Eusebio. In 29 games, he scored four goals and collected seven assists. In August, October, and November, the head coaches of Liga BWIN elected him the best midfielder in Portugal’s top division. In addition, he assisted the team in finishing first in its UEFA Champions League group, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, and progressing to the next round.
But Fernandez made the most of his impact on Argentina. The midfielder, who had previously represented the under-18 team, made his senior debut in a 3-0 victory against Honduras in September 2022, and in November that year, Lionel Scaloni selected him for his 26-man World Cup roster.
Amazingly, he adapted to international football nearly right away, and starting with the last group-stage match against Poland, he solidified his spot in the starting lineup. Fernandez won the FIFA Young Player Award for the competition before raising the trophy.
With a €120 million release clause in his contract, Chelsea moved on deadline day to sign him before their competitors. What can we thus anticipate from him moving forward?
He is a right-footed center midfielder who played for Benfica in Roger Schmidt’s 4-2-3-1 formation as part of a “double-pivot,” but he has played a variety of positions during his career.
When evaluating a center midfielder’s abilities, one particular thing frequently jumps out. Do they possess a precise, energetic passing style that controls the ball’s movement? A phenomenally powerful No. 8 capable of slipping past opponents in midfield while in possession of the ball? Or do they thrive at feeding the attacking players in the final third more as a playmaker or creative genius? How about the neat, vivacious No. 6 who can reclaim the ball, deftly avoid pressure, and feed a strategically placed teammate?
Strengths of Fernandez
The range of his skills and his command of them are what have drawn the attention of Europe’s top teams, but one aspect of Fernandez’s game that stands out right away is his energy. He has a strong desire to control the ball and is constantly moving, making him open to receive passes. Once in possession, he maintains moving the ball sideways to maintain and speed up the pace of the game. When a more complex passing option becomes available, he is willing to take the progressive approach and choose line-breaking balls in the center of the attack.
He excels at playing accurate cross-field switch balls to the opposing winger while in possession in wider areas, and his average of over 100 passes per 90 minutes reflects his energetic style and persistent influence on the game.
When examining the moves that led to a goal, Fernandez frequently provides the second last pass, and if not, it’s typical that those moves originated from his early creativity. However, the freedom he was frequently given in Benfica’s midfield and his propensity for roaming may have limited his direct goal involvements (namely his assists totals).
a strong sense of angles and dimensions, as well as the flexibility to move before being contained. He regularly tests the opposition goalie from a distance with strong, well-executed shots while using the same high-level technique.
Fernandez is extremely effective without the ball because of the same intensity and mindset that enable him to be so active with it. He is ideally suited for the pressing game of today because of his fast footwork, ability to track back, and defensive skills. Even though he is only 5 feet 10 inches tall and has a slim body, the 22-year-old makes up for his physical shortcomings with perseverance and spirit. He makes committed tackles as well, making an excellent 2.80 per 90 minutes.
Areas for Improvement
Any immediate or obvious deficiencies are difficult to see in a young midfielder whose repertoire seems so singularly full. He quickly adapted to European football, both the Champions League and native Portuguese football, and had a huge effect on Argentina’s World Cup-winning campaign.
It raises the question of whether he can continue to develop at the same rate or if his potential has already been exhausted. The latter would not be disastrous because he is still among the best central midfielders in the world at his present level. But if the game’s speed is accelerated, the pressuring is stepped up, and there is less time on the ball, will he still be as effective?