Chelsea are working hard to secure the signing of Benfica and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez and a huge update about their pursuit has dropped courtesy of Fabrizio Romano.
Fernandez only joined Benfica in the summer from his boyhood club River Plate and remains contracted to the Portuguese until 2027. But it’s widely understood that he has a €120million release clause that will allow him to depart if a club pays it in full.
It had previously been reported that Benfica president Rui Costa had said that the World Cup winner would be allowed to leave in the winter window if his release clause was met but the club strongly deny those claims.
“SL Benfica clarifies that at no time did the President of the Club, Rui Costa, utter the words that are being disseminated in Italy by DAZN,” read a Benfica club statement. “Sport Lisboa e Benfica reiterates its intention to count on the player Enzo Fernández until the end of the season.”
The reported release clause is over six times more than the reported €18million fee that Benfica paid for his signature just six months ago. River Plate are said to retain a considerable 25% sell-on fee.
If Chelsea were to pay his release clause in full, Fernandez would become the most expensive player in Premier League history, and the joint fifth most expensive transfer in history, behind Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho and Joao Felix.
But Romano has claimed Chelsea are unwilling to pay this release clause but remain confident of securing his signature this January.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the Italian journalist said: “Chelsea are on it. Chelsea are really pushing for Enzo, he’s a concrete target.
“We know they are having concrete discussions with Benfica. They didn’t have any talks on Saturday but, in the next hours and in the next days, there are going to be key moments.
“The deal is advanced. It’s really advanced because Chelsea and Benfica are speaking, thanks also to the agents of the player, about the structure of the deal.
“Chelsea don’t want to pay €120million in one solution, so it’s close but they are trying to find a different solution with Benfica on different payment terms.
“Benfica are expected to give a final answer very soon but Chelsea are pushing. Also the player, Enzo Fernandez, played against Braga because he respects Benfica, the club and the president but he wants Chelsea.
“He is really pushing to go to Chelsea, so there is an agreement between Enzo Fernandez and Chelsea. But now it’s up to the club to close the deal with Benfica.”