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Report: Chelsea ready to break British transfer record with £105M Fernandez bid

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Chelsea are pulling out all the stops in their pursuit of Enzo Fernandez.

The Blues are ready to break the British transfer record in order to sign the Benfica midfielder before Tuesday's deadline, tabling a £105-million offer (€120 million) for the World Cup star, reports David Ornstein of The Athletic.

The existing record belongs to Manchester City, who paid £100 million for Jack Grealish in 2021. Chelsea's most expensive signing is Romelu Lukaku, who cost £97.5 million when he rejoined the west London outfit from Inter Milan that same summer. Lukaku has since been loaned back to Inter.

Despite links with several other midfielders during a chaotic January window, Fernandez has remained Chelsea's primary target to bolster that area of the pitch. The 22-year-old played a key role in helping Argentina hoist the World Cup in Qatar with a series of excellent performances that saw his stock skyrocket. Fernandez only joined Benfica this past summer, with the Portuguese club paying a relatively paltry €10 million, plus a potential €8 million in add-ons, to acquire him from River Plate.

Benfica want Chelsea to pay the entire £105-million fee, which satisfies the buyout clause in Fernandez's contract, in one lump sum, sources told Jacob Steinberg of The Guardian. Chelsea would prefer to spread the potential record-breaking amount over six installments, Steinberg adds.

Chelsea, who have opened their wallet without inhibition since being bought by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, have already spent over €200 million on new signings this month alone, headlined by the arrival of Ukrainian forward Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

They've also added the likes of Joao Felix on an onerous loan, as well as Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, and, most recently, Malo Gusto.

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