Manchester United are facing an uphill battle to lure Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez to Old Trafford.
Over the World Cup, United’s links to Fernandez intensified. The 21-year-old won the tournament with Argentina and even picked up the Young Player of the Tournament award.
Chelsea’s interest in Fernandez was also piqued, with co-owner Todd Boehly strongly interested in bringing the young Argentine to Stamford Bridge.
It has been widely reported that Chelsea want to overpay on Fernandez’s €120m release clause to the tune of €130m and then spread the payments such that they’re made in instalments.
Benfica on the other hand are holding out for a one-time payment of the €120m sum.
Fernandez himself has given the thumbs up to Chelsea, to suggest that he’s interested in a switch to the London club.
Correio de Manha reports that Fernandez travelled to Argentina for New Year’s Eve, directly defying Benfica’s directive not to make the journey to Argentina.
After his side’s 3-0 defeat to Braga in which the player produced a disappointing performance, he hopped on a private jet to Argentina with his manager Uriel Perez.
Portuguese publication A Bola supports this report and relays that his open defiance of Roger Schmidt’s directive could be an indication that the player’s mind is made up and a move to England is on the cards.
A Bola says, “It is still not a completely closed decision, but at this moment it is increasingly unlikely that Enzo Fernández will remain in Roger Schmidt’s squad.”
“At the same time the idea that the midfielder will be on his way to Chelsea is strong.”
“The president of Benfica spoke to the player at the beginning of last week, trying to make him aware of the importance of remaining in the team, even admitting to paying him a bonus for him to continue, but all the data point to the idea that Enzo wants to leave now.”
If United’s interest in Fernandez is advanced, they face an uphill battle to beat Chelsea to the punch if a January deal is forced onto the Portuguese club.
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