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Roger Schmidt accepts Benfica ‘not in driving seat & prepared to lose’ Enzo Fernandez if Chelsea trigger €120m release clause



IMAGO / NurPhoto

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has offered a fresh update on the future of Enzo Fernandez as talks continue between the clubs.

The 22-year-old hopes to join Chelsea this month but a deal has to be agreed with Benfica, otherwise Fernandez will not push for a switch to Stamford Bridge.

Talks have been going on throughout January and Benfica have stood firm over their position of the Argentine. They want his €120 million release clause activated if he is to leave.

Chelsea have tried to work around the release clause, with reports in Argentina claiming the Blues have offered to pay a guaranteed sum of €120 million, which consists of an upfront fee and the rest being spread over five payments.

Benfica president Rui Costa doesn’t want to allow the World Cup winner to leave, with promises made to let Fernandez depart in the summer, as reported by Duncan Castles.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt was confident last week of keeping Fernandez at the club once the January window had shut, it closes tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 11pm.

However, ahead of their game against Arouca in the league on Tuesday, Schmidt was asked if they had a Plan B should Chelsea trigger the release clause and Fernandez depart.

He told reporters: “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 seat.

“We all know that we have a situation with Enzo, that he has a clause in the contract, so that means if the player wants and there is a club who pays this amount of money, you cannot stop that.

“At this moment, he is our player and there is no deal. We will see what happens in the next two days.

He added: “Enzo is our player. Of course, he gets the 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 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, his patience for Benfica is there. But we know how football business is. I can’t say anymore.”