Chelsea have upped the ante by topping the offer made by London rivals West Ham in their quest to sign a highly-rated Portguese midfielder, according to the latest report.
Stamford Bridge is expected to be one of the busiest grounds both for arrivals and departures this window and it looks like we may not have to wait long for the first major signing.
Sky state: “The offer is thought to be for an 18 month loan with an obligation to buy for £55m,” but the move would only become permanent providing the 20-year-old participates in at least half of their matches during the entirety of the loan spell.
The all-action midfielder is capable of playing in a number of positions across the midfield line, but has also been deployed further forward at Benfica when the situation has required.
However, the player is reported to have fallen foul of coach Bruno Lage after not featuring in any of the Benfica’s last seven games.
Since rising through the youth ranks of the Lisbon club, Fernandes has attained two senior caps with his national side and played a part in securing the 2018-19 Primeira Liga for Benfica.
The news will come as a blow to David Moyes and West Ham, but all may not be lost in their respective efforts to land the midfielder.
The Sky article reveals that West Ham United’s latest offer is also “for an 18 month loan with an obligation to buy,” but the figure touted to make the move permanent is £22m less at £33m.
However, “the percentage of games to trigger the obligation is less than Chelsea’s,” meaning the chance of the loan spell being turned permanent is, in all likelihood, greater at West Ham with Benfica therefore more likely to receive a solid payment in 18 months’ time.
The decision will reportedly “rest with Benfica and the player.”