Chelsea shirt numbers Enzo Fernandez could take after mega £107m move

Arsenal sign Jorginho from Chelsea

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Chelsea are preparing to officially unveil the club-record signing of Argentina hero Enzo Fernandez after striking a last-gasp deal with Benfica to land the 21-year-old in the final hours of deadline day. The Blues are expected to pay around £107million in exchange for the midfielder, setting a new British transfer record in the process by eclipsing the fee paid by Manchester City to land Jack Grealish from Aston Villa back in 2021.

Fernandez will become the latest arrival in Chelsea’s recent overhaul of their playing squad under the watchful eye of Todd Boehly, who has spent over £500m on new signings at Stamford Bridge since taking over the club last summer. The midfielder could be in line to make his Premier League debut against Fulham on Friday night if everything goes well and HE will be expected to play a major role in Chelsea’s bid to rescue a top-four finish between now and the end of the season.

It remains to be seen what shirt number Fernandez will wear at Chelsea, although there are several options available for him to choose from in west London. He has been sporting the No 24 for Argentina and the No 13 at Benfica but will need to pick another number at his new club, with Reece James and Marcus Bettinelli already occupying his two most obvious choices.

There is a chance that Fernandez could take the No 5 shirt left by Jorginho upon his deadline-day move to Arsenal, who managed to snap up the Italian maestro on a relatively short-term deal until the summer of 2024. It would be slightly unusual for an attacking midfielder to wear it but it has been far from a normal transfer saga, which could suit Fernandez being given a fairly unorthodox number when he is eventually unveiled as a new signing by the Blues.

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Fernandez could also decide to pick the closest available number to the one he wears for Argentina by opting for the No 25, which has not been used by any player since Gianfranco Zola left Stamford Bridge back in 2003. It has never been officially retired, though, which opens up the possibility of a return after a 19-year hiatus for the club’s record signing.

The next available option for Fernandez would be No 34, which he has worn before at Defensa y Justicia, although he could also decide to go for No 37 after sporting the same number as a youth player at River Plate. Only time will tell which option he will pick at Chelsea, though, as he prepares to get to work under Graham Potter for the rest of the season.

The money-spinning fee paid by Chelsea has raised plenty of eyebrows in the world of football, with many having questioned the free-spending nature of their transfer policy over the course of the January window. Danny Murphy was left baffled by the move when quizzed on the matter by talkSPORT, saying: “I know you don’t get flustered these days because of the number of transfers you are hearing about, some of them are gobsmacking.

“This one is bizarre, for me. He is a good player. He is a steady player. He’s young and talented. And will get better. Plays that role really well. Neat and tidy, with decent creativity. He gets about, but he isn’t the biggest or the quickest, but £100m? I mean they are losing their marbles, Chelsea, aren’t they?”

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