Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez will not be taking part in the Olympics this summer after Chelsea denied his requests. The 23-year-old would fit the age restrictions in the squad without using one of Argentina’s over-23 slots. Yet, at the risk of an injury, his club said he is not allowed to play in the competition. This summer, Fernandez will represent Argentina at the Copa America in the United States. He missed the last six games of Chelsea’s season as he required groin surgery.

Even though his recovery ended his Chelsea season prematurely, Fernandez is diving back into heavy action with the Copa America. He is part of Lionel Scaloni’s 29-player provisional squad for the tournament. Consequently, he is likely to have a major role in Argentina’s title defense, a title that he did not take part in back in 2021.

The risk of aggravating his growing injury, or sparking a new issue, is too big for Chelsea to risk. Gaston Edul of TyC Sports said the decision came down to Chelsea. Furthermore, Fernandez asked several times to play in the Olympics. According to the report, the midfielder actively wanted to participate because only three players over the age of 23 could partake. In other words, it is a rare opportunity for any soccer player. Regardless, Chelsea shot the idea down.

A rampant number of games is not a concern exclusive to Chelsea. Manchester United is in a similar position with Alejandro Garnacho. The Argentine winger played 50 games in all competitions with United this season. He is on Lionel Scaloni’s Copa America squad. Finally, he is likely to be a major part of Javier Mascherano’s Olympic squad. Should Argentina find success in those games and he plays, Garnacho is looking at an additional 15 games in the summer with his national team. All those games massively increase the likelihood of injuries.

Chelsea needs Enzo Fernandez for new coach Enzo Maresca

If Chelsea were to lose Fernandez to injury with so many games, the new Blues boss would lose a key player. Enzo Maresca, the former manager of Leicester City, is getting ready to take on his biggest managerial position, and one that has seen major overturn in the coaching position in recent years. Chelsea sacking Mauricio Pochettino puts more stress on this young crop of players to adapt to a new style.

That is another consideration of Chelsea preventing Enzo Fernandez from playing in the Olympics. Although the health side takes more importance, Chelsea will be able to call upon Fernandez earlier without his attendance in Paris for the Olympic games. That should give him more time with Maresca to learn the Italian’s tactics, preferences and desires ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Enzo Fernandez developed into one of Chelsea’s most important players. Even though the side finished with a flurry without the Argentine in the lineup, Fernandez contributed in key moments. He scored in the win over Crystal Palace while he assisted against Manchester United and Newcastle. He also scored a brace against Brighton and Hove Albion in a one-goal win. His versatility is crucial for Chelsea as well. He worked out of the defensive midfield and the attacking midfield, even though his preference is in the center of the park.