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Chelsea closing in on Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez Benfica

Chelsea are on the verging of signing Enzo Fernandez from Benfica in a deal worth £112m in the January transfer window, according to Sky Sports reporter Gianluca Di Marzio.

The international journalist claims that negotiations are progressing well and are at an advanced stage, with the Blues ready to pay a Premier League record £112m fee for the World Cup winner.

As per Di Marzio, Chelsea will pay for Fernandez in three instalments of around £37m each and only “final details” now need to be agreed between the two sides. Benfica have already lined up a replacement for their talisman with the club keen on signing Racing Club midfielder Carlos Alcaraz.

Fernandez played a key role in helping Argentina win the 2022 World Cup following a 4-2 shootout win over France in the final.

He was awarded the Young Player of the Tournament award after a string of impressive performances in Qatar, featuring in all his nation’s matches.

Replacement for N’Golo Kante

N’golo Kante’s current contract with Chelsea will expire in June, having signed a five-year deal to stay at Stamford Bridge until 2023 and as it stands, it looks likely he will leave for free in the summer.

The 31-year-old has been hampered by injuries in the last two seasons, and has made only two appearances this term for Graham Potter’s side. Kante is currently recovering from a hamstring operation and is expected to return to action in February.

Potter wants to replace the France international with a youthful and energetic midfielder and Fernandez fits the bill to take over the mantle in the coming years.

The 21-year-old, who is known for breaking up play, dictating the tempo and recycling possession, has featured in 25 outings for Benfica, scoring three goals and providing five assists in the process.

He can play multiple positions including a deep-seated playmaking role as a central midfielder as well as an attacking midfielder which makes him an ideal player for Chelsea.

Fernandez is very combative in his midfield duels, protects the space and his backline efficiently which is reminiscent of Kante when he first joined Chelsea from Leicester City.

Chelsea have been linked with a move for a host of midfielders including Brighton duo Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo as well as Southampton ace Romeo Lavia, but it looks like they’re closing in on Fernandez.

If the deal goes through, the South American will become Chelsea’s second January signing following the signing of Ivorian striker David Dafro Fofana from Norwegian side Molde.

Read more: Report: Chelsea plan to hijack Arsenal’s move for 10-goal star in January

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