Enzo Fernandez: Liverpool fear forces Boehly to act with Chelsea ready to obliterate British transfer record
Todd Boehly is boarding a flight to Lisbon on Monday to try and negotiate an eye-watering deal to sign Enzo Fernandez – and the Chelsea co-owner is ready to absolutely annihilate the British transfer record to land his man.
The Argentina midfielder outlined himself as one of the world’s leading young stars with some stellars displays at the World Cup. And with his nation claiming World Cup glory, demand for his services quickly reached fever pitch.
Indeed, Liverpool are reportedly among those clubs to have kept a close eye on the player’s progress. Scouting him in Qatar, they would only have been impressed by his crowning as the tournament’s best young star.
And with the Reds looking to remodel their midfield in 2023, Fernandez is very much a player on Jurgen Klopp’s wishlist.
However, the most firm moves since the World Cup ended have come from Chelsea. They were in talks with Benfica after the World Cup ended over a possible deal to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
And while Chelsea initially hoped a £80m offer would do the trick, Benfica were quick to refer to his transfer exit clause.
That is set at £105.6m (€120m) – a fee that would set a new British transfer record.
In order to make the fee more palatable, Chelsea tried a number of tactics to reduce their initial outlay.
Firstly, Boehly tried to offer more than Fernandez’s asking price, but by paying the fee in smaller chunks over a period of time.
Then, when Benfica rejected that, demanding the full fee up front, Chelsea tried a new approach.
However, their offer to sign Fernandez by offering three players in part exchange only served to anger the Portuguese giants further.
Chelsea try again for Enzo Fernandez
That led the Blues to abandon the chase and turn their attentions elsewhere.
As such, they saw a £55m bid rejected by Brighton for Moises Caicedo, leaving Chelsea scratching their heads over what to do next.
And with Caicedo now seemingly close to signing for Arsenal, Boehly has emphatically turned his attentions back towards Fernandez.
This time, it seems, the Chelsea co-owner is not messing about.
To that end, it emerged on Sunday that the Blues were in talks again with Benfica over his proposed signing. And with Fernandez himself seemingly keen to make the move, Boehly is now stepping up those efforts.
Indeed, the Daily Mail reports that a big Chelsea delegation is due to fly to Lisbon for talks with Benfica on Monday.
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And the Blues travelling party are under instruction to not leave Lisbon without an agreement in place.
The nature of Chelsea’s offer remains under-wraps, however. They will try again to pay the full fee in installments. However, some reports suggest they may have to go even higher to try and secure his signing before the January window shuts.
Indeed, the Benfica stance remains that they do not want to sell. But by meeting his release clause, the Portuguese giants will have no choice but to accept.
Furthermore, Boehly is believed to have revived his offer amid growing fears over two Blues stars. To that end, the club fears both Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are likely to depart as free agents this summer.
Liverpool fear driving Chelsea transfer push
And with Fernandez targeted as a replacement, Boehly wants his signing wrapped up quickly.
In addition, reports claim the American is in a rush to sign up Fernandez now amid fears Liverpool could launch a move of their own come the summer.
Liverpool cannot move to sign the 22-year-old this month. But a summer push to snare him to Anfield cannot be ruled out, hence Chelsea’s push to rush through the deal now.
Should the signing go through, the deal will set a British transfer record, beating the £100m Man City paid for Jack Grealish.
It was also take Chelsea’s spending through the £500m barrier since he took charge last summer.
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