Chelsea aim to break English transfer record after £105m Enzo Fernández bid

Benfica weighing up whether to accept payment structure for Argentina midfielder

Chelsea are ready to break the British transfer record after tabling a £105 million (€119.5 million) bid for Enzo Fernández in an attempt to sign the Benfica midfielder before the deadline on Tuesday night.

Fernández is Chelsea’s top target and they are hopeful their latest offer will clinch a deal. The bid meets the buyout clause in the Argentina international’s contract.

Sources close to Benfica have continued to insist they want Chelsea to pay the clause in one sum. That could be too much for Chelsea, who have spent more than £450 million on signings since being bought by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. Their proposal is to pay in six instalments.

Even that would be startling fee for Fernández, who has told Benfica he wants the move. The 22-year-old, who helped Argentina win the World Cup last month, would eclipse Jack Grealish as the most expensive player in the history of English football. Manchester City paid £100 million to sign Grealish from Aston Villa. Chelsea’s record buy is Romelu Lukaku, who joined from Inter Milan for £97.5 million. Lukaku was loaned back to Inter last summer.


The Belgium striker’s situation is a reminder that Chelsea, whose other midfield targets include Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo and Everton’s Amadou Onana, need to trim their squad. They have been busy this month, adding to Graham Potter’s options with the permanent additions of Andrey Santos, Benoît Badiashile, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke and the loan signing of João Félix.

Chelsea’s latest move was the £31 million signing of Malo Gusto. The 19-year-old right back, bought with a view to providing competition for Reece James, has been loaned back to Lyon for the rest of the season.

The arrival of Fernández could force Conor Gallagher to consider his future. Everton have offered £40 million plus £5 million in add-ons for the midfielder. It is unlikely Gallagher, who also has interest from Newcastle and Crystal Palace, would want to join Everton given they are in a relegation battle.

Chelsea’s asking price for Gallagher could make a loan more likely. It is understood there is interest in the England international from the Bundesliga. – Guardian