Graeme Souness has slammed Chelsea for spending more than £100million on Enzo Fernandez and has revealed the player Chelsea should have signed instead.
Souness told the Daily Mail: “Can Enzo Fernandez handle the intensity of the Premier League? We don’t know. Can he handle the great big price tag? We don’t know. He is a £40m gamble at best. A young man with potential and little more.
“When it comes to Fernandez, Chelsea have paid a premium on top of a premium on top of a premium. A premium because it is the Premier League calling. A premium because it is Chelsea. A premium because they want this player now.
“Compare Alexis Mac Allister, his Argentina team-mate, who has played 80 games in the Premier League for Brighton and has far fewer question marks against his name.
“Good age. Good experience. Good numbers of goals and assists. A proven Premier League player. I’m surprised that money hasn’t gone on him.
“Time will tell how all of this ends for Graham Potter, Chelsea and Fernandez but the signs are not great, despite that enormous outlay.
“Chelsea are a club with more money than God, but I come back to it – who is advising them on the wild prices they are paying for players?”
“If you are a small club without much money, struggling to make the sums add up, praying for someone to call and ask for one of your players, it is Chelsea you want to hear from right now,” Souness added.
“They have just paid a British record £107m for Fernandez on the strength of a mere 29 games for Benfica and a part in Argentina’s World Cup winning team, with the first £40m up front.
“Well, on the basis of my 18 months as manager of Benfica in the late Nineties, I can say without the remotest doubt that the boy’s limited experience in what the Portuguese call the Primeira Liga tells us very little about whether he will be capable of living up to that price tag or the intensity of the Premier League.
“Benfica are the biggest club in Portugal and are simply not confronted every week by the fierce physical challenge Chelsea always get. The team are top by eight points and have lost just once all season.
“And as for the five games Fernandez started at the World Cup – the history of football is littered with clubs buying players after they have performed well in that tournament and getting it wrong.
“You can never have absolute certainly when bringing in a player, whoever he might be. But you don’t want to pay out that kind of money without being as close to certain about him as you can be.
“He has to have what it takes, physically and mentally, to meet the challenge. Big players need a big ego and a great deal of confidence to get through a high-profile move like that.”