Chelsea (opens in new tab)‘s attempts to capture World Cup winning Benfica (opens in new tab) child prodigy Enzo Fernandez appears to have taken a hit, with reports suggesting talks over a possible move have stalled.
The midfielder took home the best young player award as Argentina were crowned world champions in Qatar and has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
However, a deal does not seem imminent, with football.london (opens in new tab) claiming that it is currently ‘at stake’.
Chelsea are said to have already made a £75 million bid for Fernandez, who only joined Benfica from River Plate last June.
However, the Portuguese giants are said to be refusing to sell the 21-year-old for less than his £105 million release clause – which it was recently reported that the Blues would be willing to activate (opens in new tab).
It’s no secret that Fernandez has an escape clause in his contract: Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has openly admitted it, escaping ‘a club’ (presumably Chelsea) trying to sign him. Ahead of his side’s 1-0 Primeira Liga victory over Portimonense on Friday, he said said (opens in new tab):
“We don’t want to sell Enzo. Not me, not the president, nobody. We know; everyone knows he has a clause in the contract and if the player wants to leave and someone comes and pays the clause, then of course we can’t work .” against that, we may have lost the player.
“There is a club that 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 they can only get this player if they pay the clause. It’s a clear situation. What the club is doing is disrespectful to all of us – to Benfica – and I cannot accept what they are doing.”
In Portimonense’s match, Fernandez made his return after being left out of Benfica’s previous match amid the Chelsea speculation – and Schmidt has been outspoken about the effect it had had on his player, accusing Chelsea of driving him mad and of mood during negotiations. He added:
“So to drive the player crazy, and then pretend they can pay the clause and want to negotiate later, that’s not what I understand it to be. [a] good understanding between clubs that want to talk about players.”
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