Chelsea’s £106m problem? Don’t write Enzo off just yet

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have hit a purple patch without their big-money midfielder, but it’s unfair to suggest he had been holding the Blues back.

It was telling that the official confirmation of Enzo Fernandez’s season-ending surgery was greeted with such a muted reaction by the Chelsea fanbase. You would think that the loss of their £106 million ($133m) midfield maestro – in the thick of a European chase – would be considered catastrophic. However, the vast majority responded with well wishes amid an unspoken acceptance that this was the correct course of action.

The Argentine has gone under the knife having played for months with a hernia in his groin, with the injury noticeably affecting his performances since the turn of the year while this summer’s Copa America is fast approaching.

In his quest for a contingency plan in Fernandez’s absence, head coach Mauricio Pochettino has almost inadvertently turned Chelsea’s form around; the Blues have won three of their last five league games without Fernandez and in emphatic fashion, resulting in claims that the 23-year-old is surplus to requirements. But are they really better off without their £106m man?

Through the pain barrier

It’s a damning indictment of Chelsea’s injury woes this season that Fernandez has been forced to play through the pain barrier for such a prolonged period. Having finally undergone season-ending surgery in late April in the hope of being fit for Copa America in the summer, he revealed that he had been “dragging the pain” for around six months – which means he had been struggling since the early part of the campaign.

Posting on social media, Fernandez wrote: “I needed to get this surgery since I [have] been dragging the pain for about six months. It was something I could avoid while constantly treating myself with injections and medications. But a few weeks ago, the pain started to get more and more intense, without any of this taking effect, and it was worse as I trained and played annoyingly, but I didn’t want to stop being in the games I had.

“Whenever I got to play with Chelsea jersey, like the national team, I always try to do my best despite all this, but I can’t stand it anymore.”

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