£105m star ‘granted permission’ for Chelsea medical but ‘sticking point’ is in way of British record deal

Chelsea prepare to sign Fernandez Credit: Alamy
Chelsea prepare to sign Fernandez Credit: Alamy

Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez is reportedly ‘preparing for his medical’ with a view to him completing his record-breaking move to Chelsea.

The World Cup winner’s reputation has gone through the roof in recent months. He only joined Benfica in the summer from River Plate.

Fernandez shone for Argentina in Qatar and his form at the World Cup has fuelled talk that he could move to the Premier League this month.

Liverpool were initially linked with him, which is understandable given that it is common knowledge that they are in the market for a couple of new midfielders.

But Chelsea later emerged as a more likely destination. The Londoners were in talks with Benfica at the start of this window but discussions broke down as the Premier League side were reportedly unwilling to pay the £105m fee needed to activate his release clause.

Though talks have restarted between the two clubs ahead of the transfer deadline. Earlier this week, it was suggested that a British record transfer has been ‘agreed’.

Then on Tuesday morning, Jim White told talkSPORT that Chelsea’s medical staff are in Lisbon as the club are “ready to get this done”.

“Members of Chelsea’s medical staff are in Lisbon, a plane is in Lisbon.

“They are ready to get this done and fly the boy over here.

“Chelsea may have to be patient up until the final moments of the window to land their man.

“Benfica’s lack of response to the offer may suggest the club are mulling over their next step but as it stands, there is still no breakthrough for the Blues.”

Sky Sports are now reporting that Chelsea are ‘preparing to give Fernandez his medical in Portugal’.

Chelsea are ‘willing’ to pay his £105m release clause and the player has told Benfica that he wants to join the Premier League club ‘today’.

The report adds that Chelsea are keen to ‘structure payments in instalments. Paying in one go has FFP and tax implications’.

Sky Sports reporter Paul Gilmour adds: “It’s important to stress that no deal has been agreed, but what we do know is that club officials are in Lisbon ready to give him a medical should that deal be agreed. Because of the timescale involved here, it means that there won’t be any problem in the medical if a deal can be agreed.

“The only sticking point in this is the structure of the payments of the deal. Enzo Fernandez has a release clause of £105m, that’s something that Chelsea have bid but Benfica wanted that in a one-off fee or certainly something close to that.

“Chelsea don’t want to do that, they want to do that in structured payments even if it means over the long term paying more than the release clause to avoid the hassle of financial fair play.”

David Ornstein of The Athletic has since added that Fernandes has been ‘granted permission’ to undergo his medical.

He adds: ‘According to sources in Portugal, who asked not to be named because of their proximity to the situation, there is now heightened optimism that an agreement can be reached between Chelsea and Benfica.’

READ MORE: Chelsea will have to step away from the transfer roulette wheel eventually


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