Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has claimed that his team is better off without Chelsea-bound Enzo Fernandez. He declared that they only need those who are happy to represent the Portuguese club.
Although official announcements are still pending, it is believed that Chelsea have signed Fernandez from Benfica. According to multiple sources, the move was finalized in the dying hours of deadline day (January 31), with the Blues agreeing to pay a British record €121 million for his services. The player is set to remain with the west London outfit until June 2031.
Amid Fernandez’s transfer, Benfica secured a 3-0 win over Arouca in the Portuguese league. Of course, the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner did not play in the match, but it did not impact the quality of Benfica’s football. After the game, Schmidt opened up about Fernandez’s imminent transfer, claiming that his team only needed players who were happy to play for the Eagles.
He said (via Diario AS):
“It is always difficult to lose a good player in the winter transfer window, but today we showed that we are a good team without him, that we are capable of playing good football without him, that the players are focused on scoring the most points, on be champions Benfica is much bigger than a player.
“We only need players who are happy to play for Benfica, who are passionate. We had a player who wanted to leave and a club willing to pay the clause, we couldn't do anything. We accept and look forward.”
Fernandez, who won the Young Player of the Tournament in Qatar, featured in 29 games for Benfica in the first half of the season. He has scored four goals and provided seven assists so far.
Enzo Fernandez could be an excellent addition to Chelsea
Graham Potter’s Chelsea have been all over the place this season, especially in the Premier League. Picking up only 29 points from 20 games, the Blues sit in 10th place in the rankings, 10 points off fourth-placed Manchester United. The club need a kick to get back to their best, and Enzo Fernandez could be the perfect man for the job.
Fernandez is an excellent ball carrier, possesses enviable vision, and has a knack for pushing further up the pitch. Considering how much Chelsea have struggled to create chances and score goals this season, Fernandez’s addition could prove to be pivotal.
Prior to his switch from Benfica, Fernandez created nine big chances in 17 league matches. He averaged 1.8 key passes, 1.7 shots, and 84.2 accurate passes (88% accuracy) per game.