Chelsea make similar Fernandez offer as Benfica look to adopt new method to fend off interest
Benfica are reportedly looking to increase Enzo Fernandez’s release clause to further fend off interest from Premier League club Chelsea.
The Blues registered an interest in signing the 22-year-old following his terrific World Cup campaign with winners Argentina.
Named Young Player of the Tournament, Fernandez is now one of the most sought-after midfielders in world football.
Liverpool and Manchester United have also been strongly linked with the young midfielder, but are unsurprisingly reluctant to pay his €120million (£105m) release clause.
Chelsea have tried to sign the player by reaching that fee through add-ons and players in exchange, however, Benfica are not keen whatsoever on those terms.
Hakim Ziyech was reportedly offered on a permanent basis, while the Blues gave Benfica the opportunity to sign Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana on loan.
Benfica chief Rui Costa has always told the London club that they want his whopping release clause paid in full.
While Chelsea have been free-spending under Todd Boehly’s ownership, paying such a high fee in one go will not do them any favours when it comes to Financial Fair Play.
And things could get a lot more difficult, and expensive, for Graham Potter’s side.
According to Portuguese newspaper Record, Benfica are hoping to increase Fernandez’s release clause to €150m (£132m).
And if Costa tells Chelsea that it is release clause or nothing for this amount, there is bloody no chance a deal happens.
Fernandez is keen on a move and had gone to some extreme lengths earlier this month to get the transfer, but he has stayed put.
Benfica manager Roger Schmidt recently said: “We do not want to sell him, neither I nor the president.
“We know that there is a release clause and if he wants to leave and someone pays that clause, then maybe we lose the player.
“There is a club that wants him, they tried to attract him, but they know that they can only have him if they pay the clause.
“It’s disrespectful to all of us, to Benfica, they’re driving the player crazy, they pretend they want to pay the clause and then they want to negotiate. About Enzo is all I’m going to say and I’m not going to answer any more questions about it.”
Despite Benfica’s clear stance and previous failed bids, Record claim that Chelsea have made another proposal.
The offer includes a €100m (£87.8m) bid, ‘as well as players’, who are not named.
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