Thursday, February 2, 2023 – 6:00 PM
From / Ahmed Zahran ..
ABU DHABI, 2nd February, 2020 (WAM) — Over the course of a month, the activity of European clubs in the winter transfer market has attracted the greatest interest from the masses and the media alike, especially with the many expectations that preceded this edition of the Winter Mercato.
And with the emergence of many stars in the 2022 World Cup, expectations arose that the winter Mercato in January would be full of a series of big deals.
These expectations were compounded by the need of more than one major European team to strengthen its ranks with the most prominent elements in light of the pressure of matches during the second half of the current season after the long hiatus due to the World Cup, as well as in light of the calamity suffered by more than one major team during the first half of the season.
But the most prominent deal in this winter Mercato was delayed until the last day in the transfer market, and it was the only deal of heavy caliber during this Mercato; Where the young Argentine international Enzo Fernandez moved from Benfica, Portugal, to Chelsea, England, for 121 million euros.
This deal topped the most expensive transfers in the winter Mercato, as it was the only one whose financial value exceeded 100 million euros, and it even comes with a huge difference, more than 50 million euros, from the next deal in the list of the most expensive winter Mercato deals for the year 2023.
Enzo Fernandez, 22, drew attention to him in the 2022 World Cup through his distinguished performances with his country, who won the championship title, and the player himself was crowned the best young player in the tournament.
This brilliance and the attempt of more than one major European club to contract with him caused Benfica to insist on obtaining the value of the penalty clause in the player’s contract in full and not to neglect any part of it, and this financial value amounted to 120 million euros.
Despite Chelsea’s logical exit from the competition for the English Premier League title, as well as its exit from the competition for any other titles this season, the London club was keen to sign Fernandez as part of a series of deals that it concluded in this winter Mercato, which made it at the top of the list of the most spending clubs in the market. transfers in January.
It seems that Chelsea’s keenness to settle the deal in his favor until it was completed on the last day of the Mercato, and with this large financial return, stems from the club’s desire to rebuild the team in preparation for strong competition in the next season.
As was the case in recent years, the English clubs were the most spenders in the transfer market, and even acquired 9 of the 10 most expensive deals in the winter Mercato last January, and Chelsea had the lion’s share of them, as it included 5 of the 10 most expensive players in this Mercato.
Enzo Fernandez topped the list, while Ukrainian Mikhailo Modric came second by moving to Chelsea from Shakhtar Donetsk for 70 million euros, while Englishman Anthony Gordon came third in the list by moving from Everton to Newcastle for 45 million euros.
Despite the great calamity that Liverpool is going through in the current season and its distance from the circle of competition for the English Premier League title and its early exit from the journey to defend the title in the FA Cup, as well as from the English Professional League Cup, which it crowned last season, the club preferred to postpone most of its deals that it wanted. to next summer.
The club’s big deal in the winter Mercato came among the early deals in January, when it signed Dutchman Cody Jakobo from PSV Eindhoven for 42 million euros, making it the fourth most expensive deal in January.
Frenchman Benoit Pediachel came fifth in the list of the highest winter Mercato deals for 2023, as he moved from French Monaco to Chelsea also for 38 million euros, followed by Noni Madueki, who also moved to Chelsea for 35 million euros, to PSV Eindhoven.
Marseille broke the dominance of English clubs in the first places in the list by contracting with the Portuguese Vitinha from Sporting Braga for 32 million euros, to occupy seventh place in the list, ahead of Malo Justo, who moved from French Lyon to Chelsea for 30 million euros.
The winter Mercato witnessed a number of other important and influential transfers, but on loan, the most prominent of which was the transfer of Portuguese Joao Cancelo from Manchester City to Bayern Munich, and the transfer of his compatriot Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea.
Reda Abdel Nour / Ahmed Zahran