- Blues have seen bids knocked back
- Argentine midfielder remains of interest
- Portuguese giants are reluctant sellers
WHAT HAPPENED? The World Cup-winning midfielder has been the subject of big-money offers from Premier League heavyweights Chelsea, but they are yet to trigger the release clause in his contract. There is still time for the Blues to dig that deep, with 22-year-old Fernandez emerging as a top target at Stamford Bridge, and Benfica boss Roger Schmidt admits that anything could happen before the January transfer window closes on Tuesday.
WHAT THEY SAID: Schmidt has said of the speculation that continues to rage around Fernandez: “I think we always have to prepare everything in the background, especially at the end of the transfer window, especially when you're not in the driver's seat. We all know that we have a situation with Enzo – he has a clause in the contract – and that means if the player wants and there is a club that pays this amount of money, you cannot stop that. Of course, at this moment, you have to be prepared and find solutions. At the moment, he is our player and there is no deal. We will see what happens in the next two days and then I am happy when the transfer window is closed and we can focus completely on the players in our squad and try to play a top season.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: He went on to say: “Enzo is our player. Of course, he gets full support from us. He is a great person and player – and I said everything about that topic. As long as the transfer window is open, you always have to expect that something can happen. That is the same with Enzo, we will see in the next two days what happens. My mindset hasn't changed in the last weeks. I really appreciate after discussions at the beginning of January that he was able to focus again on Benfica. He played top games for Benfica. His attitude and his patience for Benfica is there. But we know how football business is. I can't say any more.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty/GOAL
WHAT NEXT? Chelsea have also been heavily linked with Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, with more sizeable offers tabled there, and there remains a desire on their part to get another central midfielder in before recruitment markets close until the summer.