After announcing their record-breаking £323 million splurge in January—a £107 million deal for Enzo Fernandez—Chelsea set a very high standard for Fernandez to meet.
The new world champion swooped into London on a private plane after eventually agreeing a deal with Benfica after a month-long pursuit.
First describing Fernandez as “one of the most promising young players in world football,” the Blues gushed over the record-breаking British signing.
According to Chelsea, Fernandez has the athleticism to support assaults, the technical ability to function as a deep playmaker, and is mainly marketed as a defensive-minded player.
He was considered a “complete midfielder” due to Chelsea’s assessment of his qualities.
“In Enzo, we are signing a World Cup-winner and one of the brightest talents in global football,” read a statement from Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali.
We are thrilled to have him join Graham Potter’s team and have no doubt that he will be an asset to us in the future. Enzo has shown his mettle at the greatest levels, therefore we are excited to watch him play for Chelsea.
So, to sum up, Fernandez’s transfer cost was accompanied with sky-high expectations from the beginning.
Given Chelsea’s lackluster performance over the last 12 months, it’s no surprise that the Argentine international has taken a fair amount of heat for failing to turn the club’s fortunes around.
After a turbulent season both on and off the field, Chelsea finished 12th in the league, their lowest league finish in 30 years.
The Blues have won three games in a row in the Premier League and secured a spot in the Carabao Cup final, indicating that things are looking brighter under Mauricio Pochettino.
Although Boehly has spent over £1 billiоn on recruits since he arrived, it is incredible to consider that the Blues are within 12 points of the Champions League spots.
The 23-year-old Fernandez has demonstrated why the Blues were willing to pay a British record amount for an eight-and-a-half year contract, even though he hasn’t met the high expectations personally.
Since joining the Blues in January, Fernandez has been ranked ninth among all Premier League midfielders by stats gurus Sofascore.
With £115 million acquisition Moises Caicedo anticipated to offer greater defensive cover, Fernandez had said in the summer that he would be taking up a more advanced role after embracing the No. 8 jersey.
In terms of attacking contribution, Fernandez ranks ninth in the league for both total shots and significant chances created in the last 12 months.
In 48 games, Fernandez has only scored five goals and added three assists, so Chelsea is probably hoping for a lot from the final result. If Fernandez’s numbers aren’t higher, it could be because of the Blues’ struggling forward line.
In terms of Sofascore, Fernandez’s long passing is the best. The Argentine’s 207 long passes in the Premier League this season lend credence to Chelsea’s original claim on his playmaking prowess.
Fernandez has also made an impact on defense, ranking fourteenth in duels won with 174 and twelveth in tackles won. With 186 recoveries, the midfielder is 15th in the league for his position.
The numbers show that the Argentine’s all-around game ranks him highly in the Premier League, even though Fernandez hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations as an exceptional midfielder.
Although Fernandez is technically superb, Chelsea supporters are anticipating even greater things from him.
There is still a lot of time for Fernandez to mature into the “full midfielder” that Chelsea promised a year ago, considering he just turned 23 earlier this month.
Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Chelsea, has repeatedly told Fernandez that he must step up his game, especially in his partnership with Caicedo.
After last month’s lackluster 2-0 loss to Everton, his compatriot pointed out that the two midfielders, who cost a total of £222 million, were far from finished products.
‘The chemistry between them needs to improve of course, between them and individually also,’ Pochettino complained. When you arrive, there is a great anticipation since they are young.
Enzo spent three months in Europe with Benfica before making the jump to the Premier League, while Caicedo spent a season with Brighton. Because they must contribute to the solution, they should not arrive in a state where they can perform quickly.
The icing on the cake is not them. Football is different; when you join a young squad that is still developing, it doesn’t matter whether you’re good and the club paid a lot of money; all that matters is that you perform.
The lack of knowledge about football causes some people to believe in this way. There is a procedure.
Last year, Chelsea broke their January expenditure record with the arrival of Fernandez, the last and most notable player to join the club. The £323 million investment has paid off in spades thanks to the Argentine, even after a year.