Chelsea to restart Enzo Fernandez transfer talks after approach for Lyon’s Malo Gusto

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Chelsea are ready re-open talks for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez after seeing previous attempts rejected earlier in the month.

The 21-year-old is one of the club’s top targets in midfield and the possibility of a January move has been resurrected by the intent to restart negotiations.

Chelsea are keen to secure Argentina’s World Cup-winning playmaker but there are Financial Fair Play (FFP) concerns around paying his £105million buyout clause.

The Blues have already spent £420m on transfers this season alone but have spread payments for those deals over record-breaking contracts, reaching eight-and-a-half years in length in some instances.

However, in Fernandez’s case, if the clause is met in full, Chelsea would have to pay the money up front - leading to potential issues.

Double trouble: Chelsea are hoping to sign both Malo Gusto and Enzo Fernandez this month (Getty Images)
Double trouble: Chelsea are hoping to sign both Malo Gusto and Enzo Fernandez this month (Getty Images)

It has led Chelsea to negotiate in a way that has frustrated the Portuguese giants, attempting to reduce the fee, use swap deals or deferred payments.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt declared the talks “closed” on January 9 and accused the Blues of driving their star man “crazy” after he missed two training sessions to try to force a deal through.

Graham Potter is still keen to secure a senior midfielder for his squad despite having seen Chelsea make 15 new signings already this season. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo is another primary target but the Blues saw their latest £55m bid rejected last week.

They could yet opt to loan a midfielder in January and wait to restart talks for Fernandez or Caicedo in the summer transfer window. Chelsea have already opted to do the same in attack, loaning Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid with Christopher Nkunku joining from RB Leipzig in the summer.

Chelsea also want a right-back and are prioritising 19-year-old Lyon defender Malo Gusto over previous target Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan.

The change has come due to requiring younger players to fulfill squad registration rules and to enable them to spread the cost of the deal over a longer contract. The French club are currently unwilling to sell but Chelsea could force the issue with a sizeable bid.