Who should sign Enzo Fernandez?
One of the most sought-after stars in Europe right now is Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez. It was the case before the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and his performances there for Argentina have only intensified the interest in him.
The 21-year-old has been very busy this season with Benfica and Argentina and he has shown he is ready to play consistently at the highest level. He has got four goal involvements in the league this season, and between the qualifying rounds and the group stage, he has played nine Champions League games with another four goal involvements.
These figures are all after only joining Benfica from River Plate in July 2022. He has settled in Lisbon extremely quickly and it seems likely he will be leaving after just one season. Which clubs look the most serious about signing him?
Chelsea certainly appear to be in the market for at least one new central midfielder and as well as Jude Bellingham, Fernandez looks to be a very credible target. The likes of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have been leaving a little to be desired for Graham Potter since he took over, while N’Golo Kante looks set to leave the club.
There is space for Fernandez in that midfield and Chelsea certainly have the financial power to bring the Argentinian to the club.
Reports from Spain and Argentina recently suggested it is actually Manchester United who are leading the race to sign Fernandez. It is not entirely clear where he would fit into the United midfield as he would probably need to take the place of either Christian Eriksen or Casemiro.
The majority of United’s cash is likely to be piled into signing a new striker in the summer if they do not do so in January, but there is always a chance there will be enough left over to bring Fernandez in too.
It seems likely Real Madrid will be signing either Jude Bellingham or Enzo Fernandez, something which could be said for every team on this list. Los Blancos need to prepare for a time without Luka Modric and Toni Kross, which will presumably come within the next season or two.
Having Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the squad is a great start, and Fernandez could be the energetic creator they need to tie that all together.
Liverpool are essentially in the same position as Real Madrid. The Reds are trying to add new youth and dynamism into their midfield with the likes of Thiago and Jordan Henderson slowing down.
They appear much more set on a move for Bellingham than Fernandez, but the Argentine is a pretty handy second choice to be able to make a move for. He would likely become a key player at Liverpool very fast and certainly suits the high-octane football that Jurgen Klopp’s side plays.
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Tottenham director Fabio Paratici banned from football worldwide by FIFA
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been banned from football worldwide after FIFA extended the punishment imposed in Italy following his involvement in Juventus’ penalised accounting practices.
In January, the Italian giants suffered a shock 15-point deduction after the club was deemed to have inflated player transfer values in swap deals among other financial offences.
Paratici joined the Juventus hierarchy in 2010 and was the club’s sporting director between November 2018 and the summer of 2021, before he took up a similar role at Tottenham. The investigation into Juve’s accounts scrutinised transactions between 2019 and 2021 – when Paratici was at the heart of the club’s dealings.
At the start of the year, Paratici was one of several former Juventus board members that were banned from football following the conclusion of the investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Initially, Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from just Italian football, although the threat of extending the scope of that punishment internationally always loomed.
On Wednesday, FIFA released a statement confirming that they had indeed taken up that option, extending the ban handed out to Paratici and the other Juventus board members – including former owner Andrea Agnelli – worldwide.
The statement read: “FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.”
Paratici was due to be in court this week for a a preliminary committal hearing regarding a portion of the charges levelled at Juve, but the date for those proceedings have been shunted back to 10 May. Juve appealed their 15-point penalty – which the prosecution only recommended as a nine-point punishment – and will hear the ruling of which on 19 April.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
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Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The duo won 16 Premier League titles between them across respective long-term spells with Manchester United and Arsenal.
With 13 of those championships, Ferguson is the most decorated manager in the history of the competition. He is the only coach to have won the Premier League three times in a row, doing so on two different occasions.
Ferguson said: “I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
“I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
Wenger arrived in England in 1996 as one of the Premier League’s first foreign coaches, and quickly proved sceptics wrong, transforming Arsenal into title winners and changing English football’s culture with his scouting and dietary expertise.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04.
Wenger said: “I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.”
In addition to Ferguson and Wenger, there are 16 other inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry were the first two people inducted when the Hall of Fame was created in 2021. They were followed later that year by Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
In 2022, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright were inducted.
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