Chelsea set a British transfer record with the signing of Argentina’s World Cup winner Enzo Fernández from Benfica for £107 million ($132 million), the Portuguese club announced on Tuesday.
Fernández’s fee eclipses the reported £100 million ($123 million) Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish and concludes a high-spending transfer window for Chelsea.
The London club – currently 10th in the Premier League and in the middle of a disappointing run of results – has spent liberally under the new ownership group led by American investor Todd Boehly, notably acquiring Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal worth $110 million in total.
Fernández becomes Chelsea’s eighth signing of the transfer window after Benoit Badiashile, David Fofana, João Félix (on loan from Atlético Madrid), Noni Madueke, Mudryk, Andrey Santos and Malo Gusto, who will join in the summer after completing a loan spell at French side Lyon.
Benfica’s manager Roger Schmidt confirmed the departure of Fernández on Tuesday, telling reporters: “To lose a good player in the winter transfer window is always difficult … Benfica is much bigger than one single player.”
Fernández only joined Benfica in August but Argentina’s World Cup win saw the midfielder’s stock rise astronomically. The 22-year-old featured in all of Argentina’s World Cup games in Qatar and scored in the group stage against Mexico.
His arrival at Chelsea also sees Italian midfielder Jorginho move to Premier League leader Arsenal. Jorginho scored 29 goals in 213 appearances across four-and-half years and won the Champions League, the Europa League, the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in that time.
Chelsea has endured a disappointing season under manager Graham Potter – who joined the club from Brighton in September – and has won just two of the past 11 games.
The Blues next face London rival Fulham in the Premier League on Friday.
CNN’s Duarte Mendonça contributed to reporting.