Graham Potter has defended the record-breaking transfer fee Chelsea paid for Enzo Fernandez and has backed the midfielder to succeed in England.
Chelsea went in all guns blazing to sign Fernandez from Benfica and finally ended up paying a British record transfer fee of £106.8 million ($131m). The 22-year-old has agreed to an eight-and-a-half-year deal that will keep him under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2031. However, their decision to break the bank for a player that has played less than a season in European football has been questioned by many doubters. But, Potter has backed Fernandez as he believes the World Cup winner has the “personality” to be a difference-maker for Chelsea.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I can understand it but every transfer is a gamble. If you look at the market for midfield players – and midfield players that haven’t won the World Cup – you’ll be quoted a lot of money. We’ve got a player with a huge personality; he played in midfield for Argentina who won the World Cup,” Potter told reporters.
“He has attributes that can help him play in any league in the world. He has already played well in the Champions League and we followed him before the World Cup, we knew about him anyway. So we’re confident about the personality,” he added.
Chelsea spent around £323 million ($394m) on signings in January to bring in eight new players. However, Champions League squad rules only allow them to register three new faces. Potter acknowledged that he has to make a few tough decisions to comply with the regulations. “Each player brings something but we had to make a decision on the overall make-up of the group, the overall make-up of the squad, and look at it in that way. There’s no other way to articulate it, to be honest. They’re tough decisions, that’s for sure,” he admitted.
“There are challenges when you’ve got this many players in terms of what role they play because most players want to play, they want to be on the pitch, they want to help the team. When they are not, it is a challenge and it is a challenge for lots of reasons at this football club,” he further commented.