Chelsea broke the bank to sign Enzo Fernandez, yet their commitment to signing him pales compared to his local boys’ team's efforts.
The 21-year-old became the most expensive Premier League signing in history when he moved to Stamford Bridge for £107m. His seismic fee completely eclipsed the £100million Manchester City paid to sign Jack Grealish in the summer of 2021.
The West Londoners were willing to move heaven and earth to secure the former Benfica midfielder’s services this winter. And they were not the only club to do whatever was necessary to ensure he played for them.
Read More: £106m Enzo Fernandez starts for Chelsea as Graham Potter shows he's 'not afraid'
Fernandez began his career at Club La Recova when he started out in Buenos Aires. However, at the same time, Argentinian giants River Plater were also so keen on him, they shared him with La Recova. This meant Fernandez was finishing one match with one team and then going and playing another match with the other.
This, of course, came with significant logistical difficulties, especially when kick off times were close together – fortunately, both sides had a cunning plan. Every time River finished their game they would immediately tip off La Recova, who would then flip the switch of their floodlights to delay their kick off until Fernandez arrived.
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“He had to play, always with his identification on him," La Recova club president Sergio Coceres told Argentinian television. “No one believed he was one of ours.”
Fernandez has more than repaid both of his former sides for their collective sneakiness and dedication. While he still is La Recova’s favourite son, River Plate are purportedly set to pocket around 25% of the money Benfica receive from Chelsea.
This could be as much as £26.5m. Fortunately for Chelsea manager Graham Potter, he did not have to shut off the Stamford Bridge lights to get his new No.5 on the pitch.
Fernandez has been deployed for his full Chelsea debut against Fulham. His new fan base and all of his admirers in Argentina and across Europe will be eagerly awaiting his first appearance in a Chelsea shirt.
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