The Lowdown: Fernandez ‘wants’ Chelsea
It has recently been reported that Fernandez ‘wants’ to move to Chelsea in this window, amid strong interest from the Blues in the Argentina international.
However, The Times report that Graham Potter’s side need to improve their offer to at least €120m (£105.5m), the value of his release clause.
The Latest: Sky Sports update
Speaking live on Sky Sports’ The Transfer Show (19:04pm), Sheth has revealed that after speaking to a contact of his who has close links to Benfica, there will be ‘no deal’ in January as it stands for Fernandez, and there is still ‘a lot of work’ to do if a deal is to be struck:
“This is not an easy deal to do, between Chelsea and Benfica.
“I’ve been speaking to a contact of mine in Portugal, who has close links to Benfica, and he says that there’s no deal between Chelsea and Benfica as yet, and there will be no deal in January.
“Noises coming from Portugal suggest Benfica aren’t too enamoured by the way Chelsea have handled this. Everyone knows that what the release clause is. They want the release clause down, or at least a huge chunk of that.
“I’m told Enzo Fernandez requested not to play in Benfica’s game against Braga – his first game since the World Cup final. He ended up playing.
“There is still a lot of work to do between Chelsea and Benfica if a deal is to be struck.”
The Verdict: Pay up…
It is clear that Chelsea will have to pay up Fernandez’s release clause in full if they are serious about signing him in this window.
Hailed as a ‘beast‘ by CBS Sports broadcaster Ives Galarcep after winning the FIFA World Cup with Argentina, the 21-year-old won the Young Player Award at the tournament, and was his country’s fourth-best performer overall, scoring one goal and making one assist in his seven appearances (WhoScored).
With Benfica, Fernandez ranks in the 99th percentile of all midfielders in Europe’s top leagues over the past year for expected goals and expected assists combined, as well as for passes attempted and progressive passes per game (FBRef).
Nonetheless, he is a generational talent already, and so the Blues must weigh up whether he is worth the extraordinary transfer fee.