Fernandez to Chelsea ‘collapses’ as Fabrizio Romano quashes reports of whopping €127m bid

Reported Chelsea target Enzo Fernandez holding his Young Player of the Tournament trophy after the World Cup final Credit: Alamy
Reported Chelsea target Enzo Fernandez holding his Young Player of the Tournament trophy after the World Cup final Credit: Alamy

Chelsea have ‘no agreement’ in place to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez and have not lodged a €127million bid, contrary to reports, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Fernandez enjoyed a spectacular World Cup with winners Argentina, claiming the Young Player of the Tournament award.

He only joined Benfica from River Plate last summer but has plenty of clubs chasing his signature this month.

Liverpool and Real Madrid were linked with the young midfielder prior to the tournament in Qatar, with reports suggesting that one would sign Fernandez while the other takes Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.

However, his exploits at the World Cup have seen Chelsea add themselves to the equation.

Benfica handed Fernandez a €120m release clause and River Plate included a 25% sell-on clause in last summer’s deal to send him to Europe.

The Portuguese outfit do not appear to be willing to let the player leave in January and have told interested parties to pay his mind-boggling release clause.

Multiple reports have suggested that Chelsea were not willing to do that. They would instead pay a higher amount to tempt Benfica into a sale and not have to pay the full transfer fee up front, which the Blues have to do if Todd Boehly triggers said release clause.

The 21-year-old appears to have mentally checked out of his time as a Benfica player, angering his teammates, manager, and the club’s fans in doing so.

Fernandez reportedly ignored demands from the club and traveled back to Argentina to celebrate New Year’s Eve, missing two training sessions as a result.

He is clearly keen on a move to Stamford Bridge and Fabrizio Romano recently revealed that Fernandez has agreed a Chelsea contract and has told Benfica boss Roger Schmidt that he wants to leave.

Romano confirmed that Benfica and Chelsea were in talks on Wednesday afternoon after spending ‘the whole night’ on Tuesday negotiating.

The Italian journalist confirmed that there is ‘no agreement’ in place and it is ‘not a done deal’, with nothing agreed on ‘clause and payment terms’.

And again on Wednesday evening, Romano reiterated that the two clubs have not reached an agreement over a deal.

Despite reports of a whopping €127m bid being lodged by the Blues, Romano insists this is not the case and that Graham Potter’s side’s ‘final proposal’ was €85m.

Furthermore, ‘Chelsea have never discussed €120m release clause’ and despite Boehly’s willingness to spend money, he is not interested in spending that amount at this moment in time.

With Chelsea offering way below Benfica’s asking price, another journalist, Cesar Luis Merlo, has claimed negotiations have ‘collapsed’.

Merlo says Benfica only want the release clause to be met and to receive the fee in one payment, much to the Premier League club’s dismay.

The Portuguese giants have ‘given up’ trying to sell Fernandez despite receiving a ‘resounding’ bid.

Reports elsewhere have claimed that Chelsea were willing to pay more than the release clause with three separate payments worth around €42m, to avoid breaching Financial Fair Play.

Benfica are understandably not too keen on those terms, especially considering the sell-on fee included in the deal to bring Fernandez in from River Plate.

Should Fernandez’s release payment be met, River Plate stand to receive £30m thanks to that clause.

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