Chelsea representatives are understood to be holding another meeting with counterparts from Benfica this morning (Monday) – and are confident they can finally reach an agreement over a deal for the Argentine.
The Blues are willing to conclude a deal worth £105million, which could make Fernandez the club’s record signing and the most expensive player in Premier League history. Thus far, Benfica have demanded that figure – which is the release clause in the midfielder’s contract – be paid in full.
However, Chelsea have stood firm and are hopeful the Portuguese giants will eventually accept a deal that is spread out over instalments.
Chelsea are confident they can eventually strike a deal with Benfica for the 22-year-old midfielder, who has remained their priority midfield target throughout January. The Blues held talks with the Portuguese club before the winter window officially opened but despite intense negotiations, the two parties could not reach an agreement on the structure of the deal.
Fernandez is understood to want to join Chelsea before tomorrow’s 11pm deadline – and personal terms will not be a stumbling block. The task is for Chelsea to persuade Benfica to part ways with their star midfielder, who only arrived in the summer from River Plate and was named the standout young player at the World Cup.
Last week, Benfica head coach Roger Schmidt reiterated his belief that Fernandez would stay with the club beyond this month. Schmidt insisted Fernandez was focused on playing for the Portuguese club and was “very happy” to do so.
“Yes, of course [I’m confident he stays],” the Benfica boss said. “I think when you see Enzo playing at the moment for Benfica, I see a player who is on his top level, who is very happy to play for the club and I think there is nothing else in the mindset of the player.
“I don’t expect that we lose any of our players who are playing a lot and who are in the starting XI. That’s why I see very focused players and that’s why I expect that he stays.”