Chelsea have £26m transfer call to save millions on Enzo Fernandez with Declan Rice priority


Chelsea are looking to invest heavily across the pitch in 2023 to give Graham Potter a leg up for the second half of the season and to transition quickly for the future. With injury issues, a general squad inbalance and players out of contract in the summer Chelsea are keen on taking the fast lane towards progress.

In the current market it looks a lot like signing a new centreback for around £35million (Benoit Badiashile) and investing heavily into midfielders. That is, afte rall, the most pressing issue on the field due to Jorginho and N’Golo Kante’s uncertain futures. The Blues haven’t invested in the midfield for over three years on a permanent basis after signing Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid and have found themselves short-changed for physicality in front of their backline.

Heading into the new year this is something that the new owners not only wish to change but wish to create a long-term foundation with. Their primary targets are Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham with historic interest in the England pair that will be pressed forward in the summer.

In a rapid turn of events though it’s Enzo Fernandez that has come onto their radar. The Argentine was a standout player at the World Cup and attracted a host of top clubs, Chelsea have made significant progress towards a deal though. By sending out newly appointed technical director Christopher Vivell there are now active negotiations with the Portuguese club over a deal.

His release clause is a hefty £105million, a price that understands they are prepared to pay, but a move could hitch on the structure. Chelsea, as they have already shown with Christopher Nkunku, are willing to go above the odds for favourable payment terms and they could do the same for Fernandez to ensure he signs.

This would not only make him the club’s record buy but also the Premier League’s, too. Given the need for new midfielders and the need for players elsewhere it will be key to divide funds across positions and £105m on one player stretches the budget straight away. Should Chelsea need an alternative option they could turn to someone already playing at Stamford Bridge.

Denis Zakaria has been somewhat a silent hero in the matches he has played so far this season, scoring within half an hour of playing his first minutes, slotting into midfield against Manchester City in the cup and patrolling the pitch as a box- to-box player against Bournemouth.

It took him over two months to make his debut but has since shown plenty of promise on the pitch acting as the physical presence missing for too long at SW6. His loan was in danger of being cut short earlier this season such was the lack of attention being given to him for matches but that may have changed.

If Chelsea are to buy at least two players in midfield in 2023 then his €30million (£26million) option to buy may well become an option as a cheaper alternative to Fernandez. Although the two have differing play styles and could even work together there will come a point that money does come into the equation.

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