Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has seemingly blasted Chelsea for his or her attempts to sign Enzo Fernandez within the January transfer window. Schmidt has slammed the Blues for his or her strategy after the Argentina midfielder was left unsettled by the failed approach.
Chelsea have reportedly had three meetings with Benfica this month to attempt to lure Fernandez to Stamford Bridge.
However the Portuguese giants quickly made it clear that the 21-year-old would not be going anywhere unless any suitors triggered his £106million release clause.
Rife reports earlier this week claimed Chelsea were willing to supply £112m to influence Benfica to part ways with their most prized asset, but in instalments to stick to FFP rules.
Nevertheless, Fabrizio Romano later reported that the Blues only offered £75m, significantly lower than the demands that will’ve made Fernandez the costliest Premier League player in history.
And Schmidt has backed up that revelation by revealing an interested party were ‘disrespectful’ by offering lower than the discharge clause, despite indicating an intention to pay the total amount.
He said: “We don’t need to sell Enzo [Fernandez]. There is a club that desires him [and] tempted him, but they know the one way is [by paying the] £106m (€120m) clause.
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“They’re disrespectful. They’re leaving the player crazy. They acted like they desired to pay clause… then wanted to barter [a cheaper fee].”
The Benfica boss also heaped praise on Fernandez, stressing his desire for the World Cup’s Best Young Player to stay in Lisbon beyond January.
“Enzo is a superb guy and a rare player. We wish him to remain,” Schmidt added.
“The situation just isn’t easy. He played within the World Cup, won the World Cup, had proposals. There’s lots of money at stake.”
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Fernandez’s impressive exploits in Argentina’s triumph in Qatar saw his stock soar just months after joining Benfica from River Plate in a deal value around £14m.
He’ll likely be on the forefront of blockbuster transfer speculation once more if he stays in Portugal until the summer, with Liverpool and Manchester United also known admirers.
The clubs that qualify for next season’s Champions League are certain to have a bonus within the race to secure Fernandez’s services, which could spell bad news for Chelsea.
Graham Potter’s side are 10 points outside the highest 4 after 16 games played, so it could possibly be a case of the one which got away if the Londoners cannot strike a deal before the January deadline.
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