Benfica asked Chelsea for Kovacic as part of Enzo Fernandez transfer agreement

Mateo Kovacic Chelsea Salzburg 2022-23Getty
  • Benfica played hardball over Fernandez deal
  • Wanted Kovacic in the agreement
  • Croatian's salary proved to be a stumbling block

WHAT HAPPENED? Chelsea and Benfica were involved in protracted negotiations for Fernandez as both parties stuck to their guns. Finally, in the last few hours of deadline day, the Blues completed the signing of the World Cup winner for £106.8 million ($131m) after a breakthrough in talks.

Now the dust has settled, Portuguese outlet Record has revealed what went on behind the scenes of the epic transfer saga. On January 3, Benfica's president Rui Costa flew to London to finalise the deal and attended a meeting with Todd Boehly and agent Jorge Mendes when the Blues promised to pay £113 million ($138m) for the player. However, during the meeting, the Blues wanted to lower the price and proposed including players such as Jorginho as part of the agreement. Costa listened to the proposal but insisted only on Kovacic. However, the Croatian's salary of £5.4 million per year ($6.6m) was beyond the budget of the Portuguese club.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Chelsea returned to the table for Fernandez in the last few days of January and resumed talks with Benfica. The Eagles reportedly proposed a fee of £89 million ($109m) but keeping the player until the summer. However, the Premier League outfit continued to push for a deal in January and already having personal terms agreed aided their cause.

AND WHAT'S MORE: The report also claims that Fernandez 'threatened' to post a video on his social platforms where he would hit out at the Benfica officials if the move did not come to fruition before the January window slammed shut.


Mateo Kovacic Chelsea 2022-23Getty ImagesEnzo Fernandez Chelsea 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR CHELSEA & BENFICA? The Blues will be in action on Friday night against Fulham in the west London derby, whereas, Benfica will host Casa Pia in the Primeira Liga on Saturday.

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