Benfica hit Chelsea with Enzo Fernandez transfer blow in Rui Costa snub after £70m price change


Chelsea could find themselves in a new transfer saga heading into the new year as Todd Boehly attempts to bring in a host of players to revamp Graham Potter’s squad. As well as a new right- back to cover for Reece James’ injury and fitness worries there is a demand for a new midfielder= too.

It’s been more than three years since a permanent midfield addition was purchased and with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho both able to negotiate pre- contract moves away in January there could be a serious lack of options moving forward. It is the centre of the park that most of the attention is being spent on with Enzo Fernandez now being actively pursued.

As well as Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham – both summer targets – Chelsea want to add at least one body in midfield in January. They’ve already wrapped up deals for David Datro Fofana, Christopher Nkunku and Andrey Santos whilst Benoit Badiashile may not be too far behind, but none of these players fit the bill for January.

Fernandez does, though. With Champions League experience, great technical skill and as a newly crowned World Cup winner he is one of the brightest gems in European football currently. With a release clause of £105million though, he isn’t coming cheap, or easily. Chelsea are one of a handful of serious clubs interested in signing the 21-year-old but are being made to work hard to get close to a deal.

The Times now write that Benfica are doing all they can to dissuade Fernandez from leaving next month in a bid to keep him at the club for the rest of the year. It is understood that Chelsea are willing to pay the release clause but haven’t agreed terms with the player, another factor that could be important with the Blues currently eighth in the table. Benfica are trying to use this to muddy the attraction of Stamford Bridge, it is reported.

There are also hopes of having him extending his deal in January with €80million (£70.6million) added to the release clause to put teams off for now, though a lower offer would be accepted over the summer. This all stands to create a complex landscape Chelsea will need to bypass in order to push a deal over the line, especially mid-season. Club president Rui Costa is doing his bit to slow down proceedings whilst Todd Boehly will be keen to have it move as quickly as possible in his favour.

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