Benfica tell Chelsea new Fernandez plan as risky £70m plan emerges

Chelsea transfer news: Enzo Fernandez missed his first league game of the season as rumours of his move continue to grow

Benfica head coach Roger Schmidt has revealed that Enzo Fernandez is due back with the squad after missing out on selection against Portimonense on Friday night. The 21-year-old wasn’t included in the squad for the 1-0 win amid transfer speculation and uncertainty surrounding him.

Fernandez played in Benfica’s last match, a damaging 3-0 loss to second-placed Braga, on December 30 and has since made his stance clear on moving to London this month. The Argentine midfielder is keen on making the transfer a reality but will have to wait for Chelsea to pay up.

Relationships between the two clubs may also need patching together as Schmidt was critical of the approach for his star player, saying before the game, “We do not 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 of course we cannot work against that. Then maybe we will lose the player.

“There is a club who want 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 when they pay the clause. It is a very clear situation. What the club is doing, it is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing.

‘”So to make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and then later they want to negotiate, it is not what I understands to be a good relationship between clubs who want to discuss players.”

The German manager’s public admission of Chelsea making a lower offer for Fernandez despite knowing his release clause is a damaging statement and following the win there was more defiance from the Portuguese club. “Now we restart from zero with Enzo,” Schmidt explained. “He will be back today, we count on him – he’s our player, we need Enzo.”

However, according to Record Fernandez has told his manager he wants to leave. With three weeks of the window left to go there is plenty of time for things to change and Chelsea have already seen what effect targeting an unhappy player can have. They pushed for Wesley Fofana over the summer as the Frenchman made his feelings clear at Leicester City and ultimately the Foxes had little choice but to sell.

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