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Chelsea set to make fresh Enzo Fernandez offer as Benfica eye new €150m release clause




Benfica are starting to show signs of wariness ahead of the January transfer deadline over Chelsea’s pursuit of Enzo Fernandez.

The 22-year-old has been the subject of a month long transfer saga which has seen Chelsea want to bring the World Cup winner to Stamford Bridge.

But Benfica have held firm and demanded his €120 million release to be triggered if he is to leave the Portuguese side this month, with boss Roger Schmidt wanting to keep Fernandez until the summer.

Schmidt revealed earlier this week that he was confident Fernandez would stay despite talks reopening between the clubs.

He told reporters: “Yes, of course (I’m confident Enzo stays). I think when you see Enzo playing at the moment for Benfica, I see a player who is on his top level, who is very happy to play for the club and I think there is nothing else in the mindset of the player.

“So, I don’t expect that we lose any of our players who are playing a lot and who are in the starting XI. That’s why I see very focused players and that’s why I expect that he stays.”

Chelsea have already showed their intent by making seven new signings this month, with Malo Gusto from Lyon the latest addition, but the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership aren’t ready to conclude their business yet before Tuesday’s 11pm (UK) deadline.

Now it’s being reported by Record Portugal that Benfica are expecting a ‘new Chelsea attack’ for the Argentine, with a new offer expected to be made in the coming days.

It’s claimed Chelsea will return with an offer of €100 million plus some players, with Hakim Ziyech (permanent), David Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos (both loan) previously offered earlier this month.

Benfica president Rui Costa is doing everything he can to ensure Fernandez stays this month, but they are powerless if Chelsea trigger the release clause.

As a result, he is reportedly wanting to increase the midfielder’s release clause by €30 million to €150 million, as well as giving Fernandez the €2 million he was promised if he stayed until the end of the season.

There is still plenty of time for Chelsea to activate the release clause, but it remains unclear how much they want him to bolster Graham Potter’s midfield.