Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea seemed to be all but a done deal, but disagreement with Benfica on how to structure the Argentine’s transfer have thrown a spanner in the works.
The Argentina midfielder shot to international prominence at the World Cup where he won the FIFA Young Player Award in helping his nation to overall glory, and there has been a scramble for his services ever since.
Chelsea looked to have won the race for the 21-year-old, whom Benfica paid River Plate just €12 million for in June, with the Portuguese side’s decision-makers in London on Tuesday to thrash out the finer points of the deal.
READ: Why are Chelsea paying more than Enzo Fernandez’s release clause?
Fernandes has a release clause of €120m, and Chelsea had reportedly agreed to exceed that by €7m, but there is a catch involved which Benfica are unhappy with.
Enzo Fernandez is set to become the fourth most expensive player in history 😳 pic.twitter.com/UR4j8FV8Lt
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) January 3, 2023
Full sum up front or no deal
“Emboldened by Fernandez’s stance on the transfer – the 21-year-old has made clear to Benfica that he does not want to wait until the end of this season to switch clubs – Chelsea are asking for a discount on what would constitute a club-record fee, as well as for its payment to be spread over multiple years,” report The Times.
“But senior officials at the Portuguese club are unhappy with Chelsea’s negotiating tactics, saying the latest bid represents a reduction on an informal offer made in Lisbon during Christmas week.”
READ: Enzo for €127m, Mudryk for €100m – Todd Boehly is playing Football Manager with Chelsea
Benfica are sticking to their guns: if Fernandez is to leave before the end of the season, his release clause of €120m needs to be met in one, up front, payment.
Chelsea spent a world record €280m in the summer transfer window – American billionaire Todd Boehly’s first as owner of the club – but even his budget could be exhausted with the club also trying to snatch Mykhailo Mudryk from under Arsenal’s noses for a fee in the region of €100m.