Schmidt claims ‘there is no deal’ between Chelsea and ‘angry’ Benfica after Fernandez makes U-turn

Chelsea target Enzo Fernandez lines up with his team-mates Credit: Alamy
Chelsea target Enzo Fernandez lines up with his team-mates Credit: Alamy

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt says “there is no deal” between Chelsea and the Portuguese club for midfielder Enzo Fernandez ahead of the transfer window.

The Blues have been chasing Fernandez since his brilliant performances for Argentina at the World Cup with the Benfica midfielder helping his nation win the tournament in Qatar.

Reports earlier claimed that Chelsea have now accepted that they will pay the £105m release clause in his contract to complete a transfer before the end of the window  – but Benfica boss Schmidt claims there is still “no deal” between the clubs.

Schmidt told reporters on Monday: “We all know that we have a situation with Enzo, that he has a clause in the contract, so that means if the player wants and there is a club who pays this amount of money, you cannot stop that. At this moment, he is our player and there is no deal.

“We will see what happens in the next two days. Enzo is our player… He is a great person and player. As long as the transfer window is open, you always have to expect that something can happen… we know how football business is. I can’t say anymore.”

Fernandez appeared to signal over the weekend that he wanted to stay at Benfica with his goal celebration in a 2-0 win over Varzim indicating he was remaining at the club.

The Argentina international tapped the club’s badge, pointed to himself and then pointed down at the floor – but Portuguese publication Record insists that he’s had another change of heart ahead of deadline day with the 22-year-old now wanting to pursue a move to the Blues.

And now CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs has confirmed that Fernandez “wants” the move to Stamford Bridge before Tuesday’s deadline.

Jacobs wrote on Twitter: “Chelsea are very confident in reaching a deal after talks this morning. Also told Fernandez is already preparing for a move. He wants Chelsea.”

Jacobs tweet a couple of hours earlier: “A big day for Chelsea as they try to agree a deal for Enzo Fernandez. Chelsea pushing and progressing and could go as high as the £105m release clause. But success is about structure not just number.

“Enzo Fernandez has made it clear, as reported, he wants the Chelsea move. Chelsea also take some encouragement from the fact this type of deal looked possible early in January before they decided to table a lower bid.

“Rui Costa’s stance remains ‘release clause or nothing’ and that he wants to keep Fernandez. Chelsea have always downplayed triggering it. But an offer matching it (or close) with different payment terms might yet succeed. Benfica know they won’t get close to this value come summer.

“Chelsea’s ownership again directly involved. Behdad Eghbali has been active all window and, as with Mykhaylo Mudryk, is happy to do face-to-face talks abroad to get deals done. Pulling off Fernandez would be an astonishing way to close the window for Chelsea.”

The Daily Record are reporting that Chelsea have made Benfica ‘angry’ and that they are ‘in no mood to make it easy’ for the Premier League side to seal a deal before the deadline.

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