Chelsea are reportedly preparing to make another attempt to sign Argentina’s World Cup-winning midfielder Enzo Fernandez in the January transfer window.
Having failed in their efforts to land the Benfica star earlier this month when their bid did not match Benfica’s demands, it has been reported in Portugal that Chelsea will go back in for the midfielder.
According to Record, the west London club have not given up hope of landing the 22-year-old and are planning to make another move before the window closes.
It is stated that those responsible for Chelsea’s dealings in the transfer market have not yet given up hope of signing Fernandez and will attempt to hold talks again.
Chelsea saw a bid worth £112million – £6m more than his release clause – rejected as it was structured to be paid in three instalments totalling £37.3m each over three years.
However, Benfica were bullish in their stance that the structure was not suitable for them, despite Fernandez’s very public attempts to leave the Portuguese club.
Benfica themselves released a statement at the end of December insisting that Fernandez would remain with them until the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
‘SL Benfica clarifies that at no time did the President of the Club, Rui Costa, utter the words that are being circulated in Italy by DAZN,’ the club said.
‘Sport Lisboa e Benfica reiterates its intention to count on the player Enzo Fernández until the end of the season.’
Meanwhile, after the midfielder returned home to Argentina to bring in the New Year with family and friends, he was dropped for the visit of Portimonense on the second weekend of the month.
Roger Schmidt, Benfica’s head coach, told the press that what he had done ‘wasn’t right’ but left the door ajar for his smooth return to the playing squad.
‘Now you have a clean slate. He is our player, we count on him and we need him to be champions,’ he said.
‘What he did wasn’t right, that’s why he wasn’t in the team today.’
He has played in both league games since then and provided two assists as Benfica defeated Santa Clara 3-0 on Saturday.
Schmidt’s comments came merely days after he accused the west London club of ‘disrespect’ in their pursuit of Fernandez, pointing to the clause in his contract as the only realistic means by which they could land him.
‘We do not want to sell Enzo. Not me, not the president, nobody,’ Schmidt said.
‘We know, everyone knows, he has a clause in his contract and if the player wants to leave and someone comes and pays the clause, of course, we cannot work against that. Then maybe we will lose the player.
‘There is a club who wants our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player. They tried to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the clause.
‘So it is a very clear situation. What the club who wants to buy Enzo is doing is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept it.
‘To make the player crazy, pretend they can pay the clause and then want to negotiate, this is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss a player. So that’s what I can say about the whole topic of Enzo.’
Were Chelsea to land Fernandez, it would take their spending well above the £300m mark for this month alone.
They have already added Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos and Joao Felix (on loan) to a squad that currently sits 10th in the Premier League.