Benfica issue Chelsea stern warning over Enzo Fernandez transfer
Argentina World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez completed his British record transfer of £107m to Chelsea from Benfica in the final few hours of deadline day after several weeks of negotiations.
Meanwhile, National Daily understands that Benfica have remained unhappy with the Blues conduct during negotiations for the 22-year-old and had warned the midfielder that he is joining a club in turmoil.
It was revealed that Chelsea’s co-owner Todd Boehly had personally made Fernandez his priority target for the January, but Benfica were refusing to sell the midfielder unless his €120m release clause was met.
However, Chelsea have agreed to pay above that release clause but over several instalments in order to spread out the cost National Daily can confirm.
But The Times has claimed that Benfica were angered after Chelsea withdrew their verbal offer at the start of January and the Portuguese club’s president, Rui Costa, left a meeting in London ‘in fury’.
Speaking about Chelsea’s approach for Fernandez, National Daily learnt that a Benfica source told the newspaper The Times that ‘They’re not going very far behaving like this.’
The report also claims that Benfica tried to persuade Fernandez to reject Chelsea, telling the midfielder that the club was ‘in turmoil’ under the new ownership and warned that he would not be playing in the Champions League next season.
Fernandez also rejected Chelsea’s proposal which would have seen him remain at Benfica on loan for the remainder of the season.
Speaking after the deal was completed, Benfica’s head coach Roger Schmidt made it clear that the club would thrive following Fernandez’s departure.
‘To lose a good player in the winter transfer window is always difficult. But we also showed today that we are capable of playing good football without him, that the players are focused to get a lot of points, to become champions. That’s our goal,’ Schmidt said.
‘Benfica is much bigger than one single player. We need players who are happy to play for Benfica, who are passionate.
‘If some player decides to leave and a club [are willing to] pay the clause, then we cannot do anything. We accept [it] and look forward.’