According to reports in Portugal, Chelsea have been firmly rejected by Benfica after rekindling their interest in midfield sensation Enzo Fernandez..
The Blues were heavily linked with the Argentine, 22, at the start of the January transfer window following his World Cup heroics, but their interest is thought to have cooled. Fernandez was named Young Player of the Tournament in Qatar after contributing significantly to Argentina’s victory.
Unsurprisingly, Benfica were hesitant to part ways with their prodigious talent, while Chelsea executives focused their efforts elsewhere, completing a record six signings this month. However, reports on Monday suggested that they had returned to the negotiating table in order to wrest Fernandez away from the Portuguese giants before the transfer window closed next week..
According to a new update from Portuguese outlet Record, Benfica are determined to keep Fernandez unless a potential buyer meets his massive €120 million (£106 million) release clause. This stance is another setback for the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, who had hoped that a €100 million (£88 million) bid plus a number of players would be enough to persuade the Lisbon-based club to relent.
Benfica is only interested in receiving a nine-figure transfer fee up front, which Chelsea cannot afford after another busy transfer window. Finally, Benfica president Rui Costa is set to reject the west Londoners once more over his club’s prized asset..
According to the report from the continent, Fernandez will demand a €2 million (£1.8 million) bonus if he stays at Estadio da Luz beyond the January transfer window. After a month of intense scrutiny over his future, the World Cup winner believes he is entitled to such a payment, which Chelsea officials have kept in touch with his agent.
If Fernandez stays, it appears that there will be increased interest in his services this summer, with Barcelona and Real Madrid keeping an eye on the situation. This season, he has made 27 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals and registering seven assists from the center of the field, demonstrating why he is so highly regarded..
Understandably, Benfica manager Roger Schmidt is desperate to keep Fernandez and, speaking last week, ruled out a January departure for the player. “Enzo’s problem has been resolved. There is no longer a problem “Schmidt explained.
“So, he’s our player, he’s in great shape, he’s training hard, he’s happy here, he’s part of the squad, and he’s a key player. So, I believe I’ve said everything there is to say about him..
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