Enzo Fernandez has quickly established himself as one of the most coveted youngsters in world football and it appears that Chelsea are leading the race to secure his signature.
Fernandez is tipped to become one of the most exciting midfielders on the planet and the 21-year-old played a key role in helping Argentina to their first World Cup title since 1986 - winning the FIFA World Cup Young Player Award in the process.
The Benfica star is catching the eye of football scouts throughout the continent and impressed during the group stage campaign of the Champions League this season.
Fernandez only recently signed for the Portuguese giants during the summer transfer window and he reportedly has a hefty release clause of around £106 million.
Chelsea are the favourites to match that figure in a deal which would eclipse their club record breaking transfer fee of £98 million for Romelu Lukaku in 2021, whilst also smashing the all-time Premier League record transfer fee of £100 million for Jack Grealish.
But who is Enzo Fernandez and is he likely to join Chelsea during the January transfer window?
Here is everything you need to know.
Who is Enzo Fernandez?
Enzo Fernandez is an Argentine professional footballer who currently plays as a central midfielder for Benfica in Portugal’s top-flight.
Fernandez was born on 17 January 2001 in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires. He signed for his local club River Plate at the age of five and progressed through the clubs academy system following in the footsteps of former internationals such as Hernan Crespo, Javier Mascherano and Pablo Aimar.
Fernandez was promoted to the clubs first team in January 2019 after thriving at youth level. He was then loaned out to Defensa y Justicia for further first team exposure.
Fernandez returned from his loan spell in 2021 and instantly established himself as a first team regular for River Plate. In his first full season with the club Fernandez helped the Argentinian giants to a record-breaking 37th league title.
The young midfielder remained with River Plate for a further season. Fernandez was heavily linked with a reunion with Julian Alvarez and Manchester City in the summer of 2022 but ultimately agreed a deal to join Portuguese heavyweights Benfica for £10 million.
Fernandez has enjoyed great success in his first six months in the Portuguese capital - Benfica currently sit top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga with 12 wins from their opening 14 games. They also finished top of a difficult Champions League group ahead of the likes of PSG and Juventus.
The World Cup
Enzo Fernandez has been on the radar of Europe’s elite for the entirety of 2022 but his performances in the Qatar World Cup have rocketed his reputation and transfer value to new heights.
Fernandez made his first team debut for Argentina during a friendly game against Honduras in September 2022 and he was later named in the squad for the 2022 World Cup. Prior to the tournament in Qatar, Fernandez had made just three appearances for Argentina making him the least experienced player in the entire team.
Fernandez was a substitute for both of the opening two games of the tournament but made his impact known off the bench in their second game against Mexico by scoring in a 2-0 victory.
He followed this up with an assist in the final group game against Poland and from there remained a first team regular in the heart of midfield.
Fernandez’s tenacity and energy in the middle of the park proved crucial to Argentina’s style of play in the World Cup and allowed the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Rodrigo De Paul to move further forward and influence the game offensively.
Fernandez’s performances in the tournament earned him the FIFA World Cup Young Player Award, thus joining an illustrious list of stars such as Kylian Mbappe, Pele and Franz Becanbauer.
Is Enzo Fernandez joining Chelsea?
Enzo Fernandez has been one of the most talked about midfielders in world football in recent months and it looks as if Chelsea are leading the race to secure his signature.
Graham Potter’s side are currently in talks to sign the player in a Premier League record deal of £106 million, according to reports.
The deal would be only the second ever transfer above £100 million in Premier League history after the signing of Jack Grealish in 2021.
Who is Enzo Fernandez’s girlfriend?
Enzo Fernandez was cheered on every step of the way during his Qatar journey by his girlfriend Valentina Cervantes.
Fernandez and Cervantes also have a two-year-old daughter named Olivia who was pictured on the pitch celebrating with her parents after the final.
Cervantes is very active on social media and has a following of 439,000 on Instagram.
Enzo Fernandez FIFA Rating
Enzo Fernandez currently has a FIFA rating of 78 but has big potential to grow in the game with a Career Mode potential of 87.
It is expected after the World Cup that the Argentine midfielder will get this rating increased on the next version of the game.