Chelsea manager Frank Lampard defended midfielder Enzo Fernandez against criticism on Tuesday and backed him to be the “future” of the club.
- Fernandez moved to Chelsea in January
- Blues paid record fee
- But midfielder has been inconsistent
WHAT HAPPENED? Chelsea spent £107 million ($131m) to bring Fernandez to Stamford Bridge from Benfica in January, wanting him immediately at a premium price rather than waiting for the summer. But the move thus far has underwhelmed. Even though Fernandez has provided bright moments and could very well eventually meet his potential, the decision to pay extra to get him right away has backfired, with the Blues now out of the Champions League and in 11th place in the Premier League.
Lampard, though, remains a firm believer in the Argentine World Cup winner and views him as a superstar in the making.
WHAT THEY SAID: “He’s a fantastic talent,” Lampard told reporters. “For a young player to achieve what he’s achieved in this footballing year is amazing. It’s a difficult moment to come to the club, but it’s a challenge that will make him better. He is the future of Chelsea.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: In some ways, Chelsea having nothing left to play for could actually work to Fernandez’s advantage. Expectations for the club have never been lower, so he can perhaps develop for the rest of the campaign with less pressure than if the Blues were still competing for silverware or European places.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Chelsea are in action against Brentford on Wednesday and will try to snap a four-match losing streak.
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