Benfica have released an official statement reiterating their desire to keep Enzo Fernandez this season.
The Blues are aiming to blow their rivals out of the water and are ready to meet Fernandez’s €120million release clause and bring him to Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window.
Benfica president Rui Costa was quoted on Wednesday admitting Benfica will allow the 21-year-old to leave should Chelsea, or any other side, activate that clause. ‘We don’t want to give up Enzo Fernandez in January, but we are willing to please the boy in the event of a €120 million offer,’ he was quoted as saying.
Benfica are determined to hold onto the player they signed from River Plate just six months ago however, insisting Costa made no such comments in a statement released by the club on Thursday.
‘SL Benfica clarifies that at no time did the President of the Club, Rui Costa, utter the words that are being circulated in Italy by DAZN,’ the club said.
‘Sport Lisboa e Benfica reiterates its intention to count on the player Enzo Fernández until the end of the season.’
Reports on Wednesday suggested Benfica were still fighting to keep Fernandez at the club, with Costa said to have told the player a move to Stamford Bridge at this stage of his career could prove detrimental to his development and pointed to their current lowly position in the Premier League.
Fernandez has just returned to Lisbon following Argentina’s celebrations with Benfica resuming their campaign against Braga on Friday.
Speaking ahead of that game, Benfica boss Roger Schmidt was asked if had pleaded with his midfield star to reject a move away.
While remaining coy on the subject, Schmidt appeared to suggest both he and the club had a major decision to accept.
‘I can’t reveal those conversations,’ Schmidt said. ‘When I talk to the players, these are things I keep to myself. What I can say is what I’ve already said. We all know what football is like.
‘These young people have opportunities, and it’s not just about Enzo. If they have opportunities, they have to make decisions, and I respect them.
‘I can advise them, but they only have one career. If I can convince them or influence them in a certain way, I try to do it, but I accept their decisions’.
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