Before their upcoming round of 16 matches, Chelsea manager Graham Potter must make a critical selection over which January recruits will be included in his Champions League roster. Todd Boehly, chairman and co-owner of Chelsea, unlocked the Premier League team’s war fund to continue the Blues’ extravagant transfer spending binge.
Prior to their Champions League Group E fixtures, Chelsea provided a 24-man list, leaving Potter with just one open space in his team. Given that Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix, Enzo Fernandez, and Benoit Badiashile are all qualified, Chelsea head coach Potter is left with a significant dilemma on who will fill the final position. Before adding any more of their January additions to the roster, Chelsea will first be required to oust current players who are part of the Champions League team. Despite participating in the competition for Shakhtar Donetsk and Atletico Madrid, respectively, Mudryk and Felix are both qualified to represent Chelsea in the Champions League.
It’s expected that Potter would omit Fofana, Santos, and Madueke from his Champions League roster choices. The Chelsea manager may also pass on Madueke. Four of the eight “association-trained players” that Chelsea needs for their Champions League team are homegrown players. Other senior international players with active injuries, like Christian Pulisic and Wesley Fofana, are still subject to removal by Potter. Due to his recent departure from the team, Denis Zakaria, who was loaned out to Juventus, can also be removed by Potter from the Champions League list.
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Who is Enzo Fernandez, the new €121 million midfielder for Chelsea?
In September 2022, Enzo Fernandez finally made his senior international debut. He won the World Cup for Argentina within a short period after becoming a starter. Even by the standards of contemporary football, the 22-year-old midfielder’s rise to the top has been quick; Benfica acquired him from River Plate for almost €14 million last summer. With a €121 million move, Chelsea has set a Premier League record for the most expensive player ever.
The impact of Fernandez has been nothing less than stunning. He made his River Plate debut in 2019, went on loan to Defensa y Justicia a year later, and then returned to River Plate in 2022 to make an impression under manager Marcelo Gallardo, scoring 10 goals in 28 appearances. Benfica signed him in the summer of 2022, and they handed him the No. 13 jersey that had formerly belonged to club icon Eusebio. In 29 games, he scored four goals and collected seven assists.
But Fernandez made the most of his impact on Argentina. He had a sensational World Cup campaign and was named Best Young Player at the 2022 FIFA World Cup™️ in Qatar. With a €120 million release clause in his contract, Chelsea moved on deadline day to sign him before their competitors.