Chelsea target Enzo Fernandes will not be in the Benfica squad for Friday’s match against Portimonense as he continues to be linked with a January move to Stamford Bridge, according to reports. The Blues have been locked in talks with Benfica regarding their interest in Fernandez over the last few weeks, although a deal is yet to be struck at club level as things stand.
There have been issues in terms of agreeing a transfer fee, with Benfica adamant that Fernandez will only be allowed to leave the club this month if Chelsea are willing to pay his nine-figure release clause. The Blues are yet to give in, though, and have even reportedly offered three of their own players in a part-exchange deal that was swiftly rebuffed by those in power at Benfica.
It was claimed on Thursday that negotiations at club level were at risk of fizzling out, but it seems as though the move remains in the works in spite of Chelsea’s reluctance to meet Benfica’s demands as of yet. Fernandez will not feature for his current employers against Portimonense on Friday evening, according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola, which suggests that his immediate future is still very much in the balance.
Fernandez was said to have skipped training last week in order to make an unauthorised trip to Argentina, which angered Benfica officials prior to his return on Tuesday. They have also grown frustrated with Chelsea’s unsuccessful attempts to bring him to Stamford Bridge, with Benfica manager Roger Schmidt publicly accusing the Blues of a lack of respect on Thursday.
Win a pair of tickets to the Premier League or Women’s Super League match of your choosing! Enter below. CLICK HERE
“What the club is doing who wants Enzo, it’s disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing,” said Schmidt, who did not specifically name Chelsea as the interested party.
“To make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want negotiate I think is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player. Enzo, we don’t want to sell him, nobody wants to sell him at this club.
“Everybody knows he has a clause in his contract and, of course, if the player wants to leave and somebody comes and pays the clause we cannot work against that and so then maybe we will lose the player. There’s a club who want our player, they know we don’t want to sell the player, they tried to get the player on their side and they know that they only can get this player when they pay the clause so it’s a very clear situation.”
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will eventually succeed in driving down Fernandez’s asking price or if they will be forced to meet his release clause in order to stand any chance of getting a deal done this month. They are seemingly hell-bent on snapping him up before the end of the January window, but only time will tell if they manage to reach a compromise with Benfica in order to see Fernandez make the switch to west London in the not-too-distant future.
Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our Facebook group by clicking here.