Chelsea have Enzo Fernandez hurdle to overcome to finalise £105m deal

Premier League transfer rumours as Deadline Day approaches

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Chelsea are still confident of agreeing a £105million fee to sign Enzo Fernandez before the transfer deadline but the Premier League club still have to work to do to get the deal over the line, according to reports. The Blues are going all out to sign the Argentina star with less than 48 hours to finalise the transfer and talks have ‘advanced’ with Benfica, but there are important details still to iron out.

According to Portuguese outlet Record, the key hurdle to overcome before the clubs find an agreement is that Fernandez has a release clause written into his contract that allows him to leave for £105m (€120m) and in order to trigger the clause, the amount must be paid in full as a single transaction. However, Chelsea are not willing to pay the huge fee in one go.

The west London club are open to paying the same fee – albeit in staggered instalments – due to Financial Fair Play concerns, having spent an eye-watering £180m on seven new signings for Graham Potter in January alone.

And the payment structure continues to be the sticking point which has caused disagreement between the two parties throughout the January transfer window, with their first offer of £75m up front swiftly turned down by the Portuguese giants. Personal terms have already been agreed with Fernandez on a seven-and-a-half-year contract, with an option of a further year.

Chelsea have now revived their interest in Fernandez and sent club officials to Portugal in an attempt to thrash out a deal over the next two days, and it remains possible that it could go down to the final hours before the deadline.

It is the same tactic that helped Chelsea steal Mykhayhlo Mudryk from under Arsenal’s noses after they sent recruitment chief Paul Winstanley and co-owner Behdad Eghbali to Turkey on a private jet to negotiate with Shakhtar Donetsk. Six hours later, the transfer was agreed and Mudryk flew back to London with Chelsea’s negotiators.

Fernandez is understood to be ‘pushing’ for the deal and has made it clear that he wants to join the Premier League side after holding talks with president Rui Costa.

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But the player’s desire to move is almost irrelevant unless Chelsea find a way to convince Benfica to agreed on a structured deal.

The Lisbon-based outfit have publicly maintained that the central midfielder is going nowhere until his release clause is met, with head coach Roger Schmidt insisting he remains confident of keeping the 22-year-old at least until the summer.

“I’m confident on Enzo staying with us, yes. I see him very happy, in great condition”, he told reporters last week. “I don’t expect that we lose any of our players who are playing a lot and in the starting XI. I see very focused players and that’s why I expect that he stays.”

The transfer window for Premier League clubs closes on January 31 at 11pm, giving Chelsea a race against time to finalise the deal.

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