Fabrizio Romano details Liverpool chances of club-record deal for Argentina star and why Man Utd are not in race
The race to sign Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez remains wide open – but Fabrizio Romano has outlined why Manchester United are not currently in the running to sign the Liverpool and Chelsea target.
The Benfica midfielder has enjoyed something of a meteoric rise to fame. Since signing for Benfica from River Plate for just £8.9m over the summer, he has become a household name for both club and country. And his star rose that little bit higher at the World Cup, having helped Argentina to final glory and collecting the crown as the tournament’s best young player.
However, the 21-year-old’s stay at Benfica could prove to be a brief one. With demand for Fernandez high, the midfielder has been linked with moves to some of the Premier League’s big spenders.
Of the three to be linked, it is perhaps Liverpool who are most strongly keen. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to remodel his midfield at Anfield with the club facing up to at least two departures this year. Indeed, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and £54m man Naby Keita both fall out of contract and look likely to leave as free agents.
There are also some doubts emerging over the future of James Milner. The veteran star turns 37 next week and reports are growing this could be his final season at Anfield.
As such, it is little surprise to see Klopp scouring the globe for midfield additions.
There top target is understood to be Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham. However, the teenager is hot property and Thursday’s Transfer Gossip claims his mind is set on a move elsewhere.
As fall-backs, though, the Reds are reportedly targeting deals for Fernandez and his Argentina teammate Alexis Mac Allister.
Liverpool, Chelsea interest in Enzo Fernandez confirmed
And a report on Wednesday claimed Liverpool are willing to shatter their club record to get Fernandez signed up.
Liverpool, of course, are far from alone in their pursuit of Fernandez. Chelsea too are also reportedly keen and reports this week claim they are willing to pay above and beyond his £05m (€120m) exit clause to secure his signing.
And while that might seem like lunacy, it was a tactic the Blues used to negotiate the signing of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig recently. If they can secure a similar deal, they format of payments would be structured to suit their needs, as opposed a larger amount up front.
Manchester United are also reportedly keeping tabs on Fernandez’s situation too, with Erik ten Hag seemingly an admirer.
However, Romano has been quick to rule them out the running as far as the January window is concerned.
Detailing Liverpool interest though, the Italian has denied claims the Reds have already signalled their intent to trigger his release clause.
“Liverpool appreciate Enzo Fernandez but never triggered the clause or made any bid,” he told Caught Offside. “They’re absolutely quiet on Fernandez deal now.”
Man Utd chances played down
He added: “Man United are not expected to invest €120m on a midfielder in January. Chelsea appreciate him too, but the problem is the clause: €120m or nothing. This is Benfica’s position, otherwise they want to keep Enzo until June.
“Chelsea could sign one more striker, so it’s not easy for them to trigger Enzo Fernandez’s release clause. We will see soon if they decide to move for him. They appreciate the player, but it’s complicated for them with Financial Fair Play.
“Liverpool appreciate Enzo Fernandez but Jude Bellingham remains top of their list.”
Therefore, the message is simple for any clubs wishing to prise Fernandez from Benfica. And the only way Benfica will sell Fernandez in January is if any of his suitors trigger his exit clause. For now, and with Bellingham still on their agenda, that surely looks too high for Liverpool.
READ MORE: Liverpool raise stakes with €40m offer seen as enough to land African midfielder