Enzo Fernandez issues four-word transfer admission

Enzo Fernandez issues four-word transfer admission

“I love being here.” The words of Enzo Fernandez as he reflected on his 14 months at Stamford Bridge. A 14-month period that has been difficult for Chelsea – with the Argentine playing under four different managers, including the one game Bruno Saltor took charge of last year.

Signed for £106million from Benfica in January 2023, what was at the time a British-record fee for a player, there was mass excitement and euphoria from Blues fans. They had finally gotten their man. A man they had chased throughout the whole of the January transfer window.

Enzo, just over a month before, had played a significant role in helping Argentina win their first World Cup in 36 years. Behdad Eghbali, Chelsea’s co-owner, was at the heart of the breakthrough in negotiations with Benfica, in the final hours of the transfer window.

And in his first four months at Chelsea – the period between when he signed and the season’s conclusion – Enzo played every single game for the Blues. His importance to the side was immediately clear for everyone to see. And when featuring in those games, the intelligent midfielder was consistently superb for his new employers.

Frank Lampard, who took charge of Enzo for 11 matches on an interim basis, was flabbergasted by the talent the 23-year-old central midfielder had in his locker. “Enzo gets it,” Lampard said at the end of May. “He gets what is required in training, he gets what’s required to be a Chelsea player, he’s got a high talent himself.

“Some players just get it. When you work with someone you understand it pretty quickly and he gets it. With Enzo I’ve been impressed with him as a player, his attitude to training, his attitude to games, his determination and something about him, when he doesn’t speak the language much at all, but he’s learning fast.”

Lampard continued: “I’ve got a lot of faith that Enzo will be a big part of what happens here in the future of the club. So I feel for him a little bit that he has come in at this time, but I don’t feel for him that much because he’s had a massive move to the Premier League, he’s won the World Cup.

“He should be sitting back at the end of this season quite rightly putting his feet up and saying: ‘What a year’. But in terms of how he can affect the future, I think he will be central to the future.”

This season, though, has not quite lived up to Enzo’s high standards he sets for himself. Playing alongside Moises Caicedo, whose £115million transfer fee broke the record Chelsea paid for Enzo a few months prior, the duo have at times shown glimpses of a formidable partnership.

Those moments, however, have been few and far between; for the most part, teams have found it too easy to bypass the midfield of Chelsea this season. In an attacking sense, it has been a strong season for Enzo, who has been directly involved in 10 goals in all competitions, scoring seven times and assisting on three occasions.

“I’m trying to get there, to the version of me that you saw at the World Cup,” Enzo said to Chelsea’s official website. “I want to feel like that Enzo, that was playing at the World Cup. I want to get back there.

“I feel good, getting better each day, but I still don’t feel like I’m at 100%. I’m still adapting and still don’t feel entirely myself, but I’m trying to get there as quickly as possible and working hard every day in order to do so.

“It won’t be easy because the World Cup has been and gone, and I’m still growing as a player and developing my skills, but I’m looking for that Enzo. I want to feel completely myself again.”

There were, albeit swiftly dismissed, rumours over Enzo’s future earlier in the year suggesting the Argentina international was beginning to grow unhappy at Stamford Bridge. Enzo made a very clear point after scoring a sensational free-kick in the FA Cup tie at Aston Villa to take his shirt off and furiously point at it in front of the jubilant away end at Villa Park.

Such rumours were ultimately quashed by the player’s agent a few days later. Now, Enzo has reflected on his up and down time at Stamford Bridge thus far and has sent a four-word message that will certainly sit well with Chelsea supporters.

“In my opinion the Premier League is the best league in the world,” Enzo added. “It is so dynamic with so many quality players. I think it is the best. I always saw the Premier League on television. The intensity, the atmosphere, it was different.

“Now that I’m actually experiencing it, it’s incredible. The first six months were difficult for me. I found it hard to adapt but now I feel so much more prepared than at the start. But I’m enjoying it so much.

“Maybe personally I’m still not 100% and don’t feel like I’ve shown my potential, but beyond that I love being at a club as big as Chelsea, enjoying the Premier League every weekend with the fans that are so passionate. I love being here.”

Enzo has already racked up 3225 minutes for Chelsea in all competitions this term as we are now in the business end of the season. The Argentine is almost certainly going to add to that total on Monday evening as the Blues welcome relegation-threatened Everton to Stamford Bridge.

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