Benfica head coach has accused Chelsea of making a “disrespectful” proposal that turned Enzo Fernandez’s mind against the Portuguese club.
Following the midfielder’s heroics during Argentina’s triumphant World Cup campaign last year, the Blues are close on the trail of the Benfica player.
Chelsea recently met Fernandez’s massive £105 million buyout clause, but the Portuguese giants rejected their bid because they wanted the money up front.
To the chagrin of manager Roger Schmidt, Fernandez is alleged to have notified Benfica that he wants to quit the Portuguese side.
The coach said: “We don’t want to sell Enzo.”
“There is a club who wants our player.”
“They know we don’t want to sell the player [and] they tried to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the [release] clause.”
“So it’s a very clear situation for what the club is doing who want to buy Enzo.”
“It’s disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica. And I cannot accept what they are doing.”
“So to make the player crazy and then to pretend that they can pay the clause and later they want to negotiate is, I think, not what I understand about what a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about a player.”
“That’s what I can say about the whole topic with Enzo and I will not answer further questions.”
Benfica turned down Chelsea’s initial offer for Fernandez because they insisted on paying his buyout clause in installments.
If the west Londoners agree to the Portuguese giants’ demands, the Argentine youngster will be theirs this January.
Graham Potter, the manager of the Blues, is eager to add reinforcements this month and has already finalized the acquisition of French defender Benoit Badiashile.
The former Brighton manager is eager to add more fresh talent, but he acknowledged that it will be more difficult in this transfer window.
He stated: “I would say the January window isn’t so straightforward to find solutions.”
“From my perspective, the autumn fixture list was an extreme period.”
“And I would not want to make too many drastic assessments [on players] based on that extreme period.”
“The team, as I see it, hasn’t functioned as maximally as I would have liked – and I think that it can do.”
“I would say the job of the head coach is to focus on the players that are here and make them better.”
“There’s room for improvement there for sure.”
On Thursday night, title-chasing Manchester City will visit Stamford Bridge as Chelsea continues to fight for a top four finish.
Will Enzo Fernandez Improve Chelsea?
Todd Boehly’s spending binge isn’t over just yet; Chelsea hopes to finalize a €130 million agreement to sign midfielder Enzo Fernandez from Benfica this month.
The 21-year-old was just named the World Cup’s Young Player of the Tournament and has drawn the attention of several of the game’s top players.
Fans may anticipate Fernandez to play a big role in the club moving forward if this deal is approved because the Blues’ midfield problems were highlighted in their opening match of 2023 when they had to hang on for their lives in a 1-1 draw with relegation hopefuls Nottingham Forest.
At Benfica, Fernandez frequently plays a box-to-box role that requires both a lot of defending and a lot of attacking in a two-man midfield behind the forward lines.
Without N’Golo Kante, Chelsea’s midfield lacks both diversity and dynamism. Fernandez may be effective alongside either Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic in this situation.
Enzo Jeremas Fernandez, an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for both Benfica of the Primeira Liga and the Argentina national team, was born on January 17, 2001.
After graduating from River Plate’s academy, Fernández made his first-team debut in 2019 and then played on loan for Defensa y Justicia for two seasons.
He had a productive season there, culminating in victories in the Copa Sudamericana and Recopa Sudamericana, before moving back to River Plate in 2021.
After his return, Fernández became a key member of the team and helped the team win the 2021 Argentine Primera División. In the summer of 2022, he signed with Benfica in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.