Enzo Fernandez will not be joining Chelsea from Benfica after helping Argentina to World Cup glory – with the latest reports saying transfer talks have collapsed.
The 21-year-old took the World Cup by storm despite only making his international debut in September – winning the tournament's Young Player Award after Lionel Messi and his team-mates beat France on penalties.
Fernandez looked to have earned a big Champions League move with his performances – but the bumper value placed on him by Benfica's contract is proving to be an issue.
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Cesar Luis Merlo of TYCSports reports that Chelsea's negotiations to sign Fernandez have collapsed after several days of talks between the parties.
Benfica are said to have informed the Premier League side that the £105million initial instalment will have to be paid in a lump sum.
It had been thought that Chelsea were on the verge of an agreement regarding that £105m release clause – and even been willing to pay a club-record £112m.
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That would've surpassed the £98m they spent on Romelu Lukaku in 2021, but things haven't been so simple to get over the line.
Fernandez could still be the biggest midfield arrival at Chelsea since Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic signed in 2018, with N'Golo Kante out of contract in the summer.
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly might not want to push too hard for the youngster despite his willingness to spend, with over £250m going on new arrivals in the summer.
Despite that spree, Graham Potter has not had things easy in the Stamford Bridge dugout since leaving Brighton – winning half of his games in charge so far.
Chelsea have beaten Bournemouth and drawn with Nottingham Forest since the end of the World Cup break – before which they lost three games in a row.
Ahead of their clash against Manchester City on Thursday (January 5), the Blues sit 10th in the Premier League table and three points behind fellow west Londoners Fulham.
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