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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Enzo Fernandez handed full Chelsea debut

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Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez has been handed his full debut in the west London derby against Fulham at Stamford Bridge, less than three days after becoming the most expensive player in British football history earlier in the week.

Fernandez, who has been assigned the number five shirt vacated at Chelsea Jorginho, completed a £107m switch from Benfica in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The 22-year-old has had a whirlwind few months that included moving from River Plate to Europe, winning the World Cup with Argentina and being named young player of the tournament.

Rather then being left out of the spotlight while he settles in, Fernandez has been thrown straight in at the deep end, lining up in midfield alongside Conor Gallagher and Mason Mount.

Speaking in the wake of the transfer, Chelsea manager Graham Potter had expressed doubt as to whether all the paperwork would be in order for Fernandez to play so soon. But that clearly wasn’t a problem once Fernandez was named in the starting XI.

“I am grateful to Chelsea and its ownership for doing everything they could to make me a part of this project,” Fernandez said of his transfer.

“I’m happy and excited to join the Pride of London, to play in the best league in the world and to compete for the biggest trophies. I can’t wait to play in front of our fans and help my team-mates on and off the pitch.”

The Fulham game also marks a first Chelsea start for £89m winger Mykhailo Mudryk, who made his debut off the bench in a 35-minute cameo against Liverpool earlier this month.

Hakim Ziyech was also a bizarre starter, despite being on the brink of joining Paris Saint-Germain in a deadline day transfer and still having permission to explore an exit.

On this edition of Son of Chelsea, part of the 90min podcast network, Daniel Childs previews Friday night’s Premier League game between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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