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Chelsea suffer huge Enzo Fernandez transfer blow as Benfica issue release clause ultimatum



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(Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Benfica have rejected Chelsea’s proposal for Enzo Fernandez and have told them to activate the €120 million release clause if they want to sign him this month, according to reports.

The clubs have been in talks for over a week for Fernandez and have made progress but no deal has yet be struck for the World Cup winner.

Fernandez, who wants to leave to make the move to Chelsea this month, returned to Benfica’s training centre on Tuesday to hold talks with boss Roger Schmidt and president Rui Costa over his future.

After wanting the €120 million release clause to be activated, Benfica softened their stance to negotiate with Chelsea which would see the Blues offer a higher fee and pay it across instalments.

Discussions over the structure continued but Benfica were claimed to have wanted more in the first payment for the 21-year-old.

No huge progress has been made this week and after talks on Wednesday, nothing had advanced, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Reports out of Record Portugal have now revealed Benfica’s stance after Costa sent Jorge Mendes to London to negotiate a deal with Chelsea for Fernandez, which made it appear a deal was close to being agreed.

It’s reported that Fernandez is ‘getting further away’ from joining Chelsea in January. Co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are refusing to trigger the release clause. They offered more than the €120 million release clause, but Benfica rejected the proposal.

Chelsea backed down and came back with another offer which is now closer to the release clause, however Benfica have not responded well to the retreat and are now refusing to sell Fernandez.

The Portuguese side are ‘disappointed’ with Chelsea because they believe they have failed to keep to their word and have now issued the Blues with an ultimatum.

Benfica’s position is now Chelsea either trigger the release clause to sign Fernandez, or he will remain at the club until the end of the season.

Ben Jacobs reports that talks have been taking place over the overall package not just solely on the payment structure.

Benfica have reportedly told Chelsea to activate the release clause if they want to wrap up a deal quickly to avoid it dragging on into the latter stages of the January window.

It’s now down to Chelsea as to how they respond. Whether they wish to compromise to make sure they sign Fernandez this month, or walk away from a deal entirely after deciding they don’t want to meet the demands.