Chelsea expected to return for World Cup winner, but fee is rising to astronomical level after exit clause twist

Enzo Fernandez, Benfica, January 2023

Benfica reportedly expect that Chelsea will attempt to sign Enzo Fernandez yet again, though they’re making the pursuit harder by upping his release clause.

The Blues have had no problems in signing players since Todd Boehly bought the club. North of £400million has been spent in two transfer windows in the time the American has been around.

Spending that sort of money in such a little space of time has been quite the spectacle. They’ve even flexed their muscles in beating rivals to a signing.

Arsenal appeared to be the preferred destination of Ukrainian forward Mykhaylo Mudryk. However, a fee in the region of £88million from the Blues was unmatched, and the winger now plies his trade at Stamford Bridge.

He is one of six players to have walked through the door at Chelsea on a permanent transfer in January alone.

As such, it would seem recruiting players is not a tough task for Graham Potter’s side.

However, there has been one man that has evaded their capture throughout the window: Benfica midfielder Fernandez. He has seemed a major target of Chelsea’s since he won the World Cup with Argentina in December.

When the January window opened, the Blues attempted to sign him.

Fernandez expected to be subject of more bids

However, their attempts to snare the World Cup winner were in vain. That was largely because of his release clause, which sits at around £105million.

Indeed, reports suggested Chelsea were only willing to pay £79.5million up front, which Benfica did not accept.

While the Blues have since returned in their interest, it seems it might become harder for them to complete the signing than it already was.

Portuguese outlet Record reports that Chelsea are expected to approach Benfica again. In any case, the club have always held firm in their valuation of the star, and will not settle for less than his release clause.

If that was an issue for Chelsea before, that will be even more true now. That’s because Record reports that Benfica are attempting to up that clause, in order to fight off interest.

They apparently want to increase Fernandez’s release clause by more than £25million, whereby it will become £132million.

In that case, Chelsea have a big decision to make over whether or not it’s worth paying that sum.

Midfield light, but fee is too high

Fernandez is clearly a very good player, who has a very bright future ahead of him. That much has been clear in both club and international football this season.

Indeed, the Argentine has been directly involved in six goals from his 17 league games at Benfica this term. What’s more, he contributed to two goals in Argentina’s triumphant World Cup campaign.

The midfield also seems to be in transition at Chelsea. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are ageing and could both exit the club in the summer.

However, £132million is a lot of money for a midfielder with a couple of good seasons under his belt. There are other quality options out there for less money who could have a similar impact, so it might be wise to swerve Fernandez.

READ MORE: Chelsea ‘definitely in race’ for £100million-rated star as Arsenal battle could meet familiar end