Premier League

Chelsea transfer news: Benfica boss unhappy with ‘disrespectful’ Enzo Fernandez negotiations

Enzo Fernandez, Benfica, 2022/23

Enzo Fernandez’s move to Chelsea seemed close to completion, but disagreement with Benfica over the transfer fee means the deal could collapse.

The Argentina midfielder rose to stardom at the World Cup, winning the FIFA Young Player Award in helping his nation to overall glory.

And Chelsea looked to have won the race to sign the 21-year-old, as the Benfica hierarchy were in London on Tuesday to finalise the deal.

READ: How Chelsea could line up with Benoit Badiashile

But it seems Chelsea are unwilling to meet Fernandez’s release clause of €120m, on the contrary to reports earlier in the week.

This situation has annoyed Benfica, particularly their head coach Roger Schmidt.

”We do not want to sell him, neither I nor the president,” said the Benfica boss. ”We know that there is a release clause, if he wants to leave and someone violates the clause, maybe we lose the player.

”There is a club that wants him, they tried to attract him, but they know that they can only have him if they pay the clause.

”It’s disrespectful to all of us, to Benfica, they’re driving the player crazy, they pretend they want to pay the clause and then they want to negotiate.”

Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez alternatives

Declan Rice – West Ham

The most obvious candidate is West Ham United captain Declan Rice. The England international has been linked with a return to Chelsea for the past three years, and with the player wanting to leave the London Stadium, he could finally be allowed to depart.

Declan Rice

Declan Rice

With West Ham currently embroiled in a relegation fight after a poor start to the 2022/23 campaign, Chelsea are likely to be priced out of a January move, but a deal could be completed this summer.

If Todd Boehly goes all-out, then he may even pay the fee for Fernandez and sign Rice in order to provide Chelsea with a stellar midfield pairing for years to come.

Martin Zubimendi – Real Sociedad

Chelsea have previously been linked with a move for Real Sociedad star Martin Zubimendi.

The Spaniard is very much in the mould of a holding midfielder, capable of stopping opposition attacks before starting phases of play from deep.

His volume of passing would need to increase at Chelsea, but that would likely come naturally by playing in a more ball-dominant side.

Edson Alvarez – Ajax

Edson Alvarez was just hours away from a move to Chelsea on transfer Deadline Day last summer, but a deal wasn’t completed and the Mexican returned to Ajax.

Edson Alvarez

Edson Alvarez

Back in the Dutch capital, Alvarez has continued to thrive, with his defensive contribution standing out again.

He ranks in the top one percent of midfielders for aerial duels won per 90, the top three percent for clearances per 90 and the top 15% for tackles per 90.

However, he is the epitome of a number six, rather than an 8, meaning he would be perfect alongside Fernandez, not instead of him.

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