Chelsea report: Blues dealt blow as Enzo Fernandez transfer takes unexpected twist

Enzo Fernandez
Chelsea are hoping to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica this month (Image credit: Getty)

Chelsea have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, according to reports.

Fernandez has emerged as the Blues' top transfer target in the January window, with Graham Potter keen to bolster his midfield ranks after a difficult first few months in charge of the club.

Jorginho and N'Golo Kante are out of contract at Stamford Bridge in the summer, while Denis Zakaria is only on loan in west London until the end of the campaign.

Graham Potter ahead of Chelsea's defeat by Newcastle this season

Chelsea manager Graham Potter is under pressure amid a poor run of form (Image credit: Getty Images)

Chelsea (opens in new tab) are therefore looking to add a player to their engine room options this month, with Fernandez at the top of their shortlist.

But according to the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), Benfica (opens in new tab) have rejected Chelsea's opening offer of £112m for the World Cup winner, who was named Young Player of the Tournament in Qatar last month.

That is despite the fact that the 21-year-old is only valued at £48.5m by football site Transfermarkt (opens in new tab).

Chelsea submitted their three-figure bid in recent days, but they wanted to pay the money across three instalments in an attempt to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Benfica, however, want to receive the entirety of Fernandez's £106m release clause up front.

Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez of Argentina poses for a photo with the FIFA Young Player award during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Image credit: Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Chelsea may now move onto other targets, although Fernandez has already informed Benfica boss Roger Schmidt that he wants to join the Blues.

Potter's side take on Manchester City (opens in new tab) in the Premier League on Thursday, before facing the same opponents in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend.

More Chelsea stories

Chelsea are among a number of clubs linked with a move for Brighton's Argentine World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, but the midfielder says he is in no haste to leave the Seagulls (opens in new tab).

The Blues have reportedly agreed a £33m deal for Monaco and France centre-back Benoit Badiashile (opens in new tab), though.

Meanwhile, Celtic's Josip Juranovic and Inter Milan's Denzel Dumfries are said to have been identified as potential right-back targets (opens in new tab), with Reece James out injured again.

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