Chelsea meet Enzo Fernandez release clause as top target skips Benfica training before blockbuster move
Enzo Fernandez has been a top target for Chelsea all month and they could finally be closing in on signing him after making a bid that meets the release clause in his Benfica contract.
Chelsea have been seriously impressed by Fernandez, who won the World Cup with Argentina as the tournament’s best young player. Therefore, they have been scheming to lure him away from Benfica, just six months after he joined the Portuguese side.
Benfica have understandably not been too happy about that, but there is nothing they can do if Chelsea meet the €120million (just over £105m) release clause in his contract.
And that is what the Blues have finally managed to do, according to the latest information coming through on Monday afternoon.
Reports earlier on suggested that Chelsea officials would be on their way to Portugal for direct negotiations. Their plan has been to bring Fernandez back with them.
And according to sources such as the Daily Telegraph, BBC and Sky Sports, Chelsea have tabled a bid to Benfica that meets Fernandez’s release clause.
However, it still isn’t a given that doing so will get them their man. Chelsea’s offer consists of a large initial payment before five further instalments that would eventually reach the €120m threshold.
Therefore, technically there is still room for negotiation between the two clubs. But Fernandez is stepping up his own efforts to convince Benfica to sell him.
According to transfer expert Duncan Castles, Fernandez missed training for Benfica on Monday. He is trying to put pressure on them to accept Chelsea’s offer, despite only being 29 appearances into his Benfica spell.
Enzo Fernandez could make history with Chelsea transfer
If the deal does go through, Fernandez would become Chelsea’s record signing, the Premier League’s record signing and the most expensive central midfielder of all time.
Hence, this is a deal of huge magnitude. But Chelsea have become accustomed to operating in that territory under the ownership of Todd Boehly.
This month alone, they have spent upwards of £170million on new signings. They have added the likes of Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile and Noni Madueke to their squad, strengthening for the present (which they have needed to amid a disappointing season so far) and the future.
Now, they are willing to increase their spending even more by bringing in Fernandez in a mammoth move.
There would undoubtedly be pressure on the 22-year-old due to the amount of money being associated with him. Chelsea, who would be beating a range of rival suitors to his signature, will be hoping their faith can be rewarded.
They have needed to strengthen their midfield as they prepare for the potential departures of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante. The pair of 31-year-olds are both due to become free agents at the end of the season.
Fernandez could be a long-term solution as Chelsea aim to evolve that department. Promisingly, he can envisage a future in west London and his dream could soon become reality.
Fortunately for him, Chelsea have now made a move that will be hard for Benfica to ignore. It seems possible that the Blues can end the January transfer window with a final flourish.
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