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Chelsea signed Nemanja Matic thanks to Jose Mourinho making the transfer a ‘priority’ in 2014 and led to Premier League success, now Graham Potter hopes Enzo Fernandez can have a similar impact

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Chelsea’s raid on Benfica is a tale as old as time and history suggests it leads to success for the Premier League giants.

In 2014 midfielder Nemanja Matic was signed by the Portuguese club – for the second time – and eight years later it looks like World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez will follow the same path.

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Matic became a Chelsea player in January 2014

Enzo Fernandez is expected to swap Lisbon for London in the coming days

Getty

Enzo Fernandez is expected to swap Lisbon for London in the coming days

He is said to be set to seal a move to Stamford Bridge in a deal that would crush the Premier League transfer record.

Chelsea are said to have spent £112m on the 21-year-old midfielder, £6m more than their £106m release fee.

The player annoyed his current bosses by skipping training for a New Year’s Eve party in Argentina, but it seems that doesn’t matter to the man who shone alongside Lionel Messi.

The Blues will hope Fernandez’s arrival will help lift the cloud over what has been a stuttering season so far with Graham Potter’s side languishing in ninth place, 18 points behind leaders Arsenal.

The switch will evoke memories for Chelsea fans of another midfielder snap from Benfica when Jose Mourinho lured Matic to the club in January 2014.

Mourinho has told the Chelsea board that Matic should be given priority as part of rebuilding his squad after his second term.

Matic was a heavyweight in the £23.5million deal to bring David Luiz to Chelsea in 2011 and spent three years establishing his career at the Estadio da Luz.

Nemanja Matic built his reputation at Benfica before returning to Stamford Bridge

Nemanja Matic built his reputation at Benfica before returning to Stamford Bridge

Nemanja Matic (Chelsea 2009-2011 and 2014-2017)

Matic helped Chelsea win two Premier League titles in 2015 and 2017


The Serbian international quickly built his reputation with a host of fine performances under then-coach Jorge Jesus, helping the club win the league title in 2014.

Matic quickly became a household name under Mourinho and played a key role in Chelsea winning two Premier League titles in three years – either side of Leicester City’s miraculous triumph in 2016.

Mourinho’s bold move to bring Matic back to the club has given Chelsea the impetus to fight for the trophy and they will hope the acquisition of Fernandez can provide the boost needed to return to the chasing pack.

Fernandez has been in fabulous form for Benfica since his £9million move from River Plate in the summer.

Mourinho signed Matic twice as a manager at Chelsea and later at Manchester United

Getty Images – Getty

Mourinho signed Matic twice as a manager at Chelsea and later at Manchester United

His adaptation to European football was quick and helped the Portuguese giants top their Champions League group ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

The Argentine played a starring role as Benfica took a five-point lead at the top of the Portuguese league ahead of Porto.

He won Qatar’s best young player award and was praised for his performances when his country won the World Cup.

“He’s playing like a 29-year-old, he ended up being cautioned for a foul, stopped play, stopped the attack, and he’s the one who kicked the ball off somebody,” said the English legend Stuart Pearce at talkSPORT.

“They just know what to do at a very young age, a very intelligent understanding of the game.”

Now Fernandez’s future looks to be in west London as he battles with Jorginho, Denis Zakaria, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for a place in Potter’s starting midfield.

Chelsea signed Nemanja Matic thanks to Jose Mourinho making the transfer a 'priority' in 2014 and led to Premier League success, now Graham Potter hopes Enzo Fernandez can have a similar impact

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