Chelsea are closing on an agreement with Benfica to sign Enzo Fernandez after talks reached an advanced stage and Fabrizio Romano lifted the lid on Liverpool’s intentions over a possible transfer hijack.
The Argentina midfielder finds himself one of the world’s most in-demand stars after something of a meteoric rise. A relative unknown six months ago, his summer move to Benfica has helped catapult him into the limelight.
Indeed, he has marked his opening months in Portugal with some truly excellent displays. Part of a Benfica side that are top of the Portuguese league by five points, they also have a great chance to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. Indeed, next on their agenda in the competition is a last-16 battle against Belgian outsiders Club Brugge.
Fernandez’s performances had already brought him to the attention of a number of top Premier League sides anwyay. However, becoming a mainstay in the Argentina side that won the World Cup, alongside his crowning as Young Player of the Tournament, appears to have catapulted him into the big time.
Thankfully, as far as Benfica are concerned, they have a significant and vast exit clause in his deal. That is set at a huge £106.4m (€120m), with Benfica pointing to that for any side wishing to sign the 21-year-old.
However, as revealed on Saturday, Chelsea appear undeterred by that fee. As such, they are now ready to break the Premier League transfer record to sign him.
Spending £106.4m on one player appears a crazy prospect, even by Chelsea’s standards.
Fabrizio Romano provides key update on Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea
Providing an update on the deal, Romano claims that while it is not a done deal yet, Chelsea are making significant progress on Fernandez.
“At the moment there are negotiations ongoing for Enzo Fernandez,” he told Caught Offside. “Chelsea will push this week to get it done, it’s really advanced, but it’s not completed yet.
“It will depend on Benfica, on president Rui Costa who always said he wanted €120m clause or nothing.”
Chelsea are far from alone in their interest in Fernandez, with Liverpool also among his admirers.
Indeed, reports have suggested they could look to match Chelsea’s offer to sign the young Argentine. However, Romano hints the €120m asking price looks too high for them. As a result, he insists that reports they could bid for him are ‘fake news’.
“It’s always open to other clubs until it’s done, but Liverpool will not pay €120m clause and never made an official bid despite fake news around.”
The Blues could even pay above and beyond Fernandez’s exit clause if they can structure the deal differently. For example, they could pay a lesser fee up front and the rest over longer-term instalments. It was a similar arrangement they struck to sign Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig.
Providing an update on the possible transfer arrangement, Romano has also revealed that Fernandez’s mind is now set on Chelsea.
“Chelsea would ideally like a different structure to the €120m clause, but the player really wants to join. It will be up to Benfica, though, so we’ll see what happens in the next few days,” he added.