How Chelsea could line up with Enzo Fernandez

The Todd Boehly spending spree isn’t stopping just yet, with Chelsea looking to close a €130m deal to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez this month.

The 21-year-old has been chased by a number of the game’s elite and recently won the World Cup’s Young Player of the Tournament prize, and he appears to be on the cusp of a move to a Stamford Bridge outfit in desperate need of his help.

The Blues’ midfield woes were amplified in their first game of 2023 as they were forced to hang on for their lives in a 1-1 draw with relegation candidates Nottingham Forest and so, if this move goes through, fans can expect Fernandez to play a significant role in the team going forward.

So, how could Fernandez fit in for a Chelsea side who are still searching for their best system under Graham Potter?

At Benfica, Fernandez has often been used in a two-man midfield behind the forward lines, where he plays a box-to-box role that involves plenty of defending and a lot of attacking.

This could work well for a Chelsea side who, without N’Golo Kante, are lacking both versatility and dynamism in their midfield, and Fernandez could be impactful alongside either Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic.

Possible options

Fernandez – Jorginho/Kovacic

A 4-3-3 setup would maximise the ways in which to utilise Fernandez, who broke through at River Plate playing on the right side of a three-man midfield.

In this system, Fernandez is given significantly more freedom to utilise his attacking abilities, which could be crucial for Chelsea as Potter’s side have been guilty of playing pedestrian, uninspiring football and failing to take the required risks.

If allowed to play on the right, Fernandez would get the chance to link up with Reece James when the defender recovers from injury, and that’s a pairing which should get you excited.

Possible options

Mount/Kovacic – Jorginho – Fernandez

The ultimate role for Fernandez’s box-to-box tendencies could be the 3-4-2-1, or any system which relies on just two central midfielders.

Both Argentina and Benfica have deployed the 4-4-2 this season, with Fernandez forced to take on a lot of responsibility as one half of a midfield pairing. He must defend when the time comes but cannot afford to leave his forwards without options in attack.

Potter is a fan of the 3-4-2-1 and the arrival of Fernandez could be the missing piece of his puzzle to make the formation work.

Possible options

Chilwell/Cucurella – Fernandez – Jorginho/Kovacic – James/Azpilicueta