Chelsea ‘sanction’ threat emerges after making £103m star ‘crazy’ with ‘disrespectful’ transfer pursuit

Chelsea-linked Fernandez Credit: Alamy
Chelsea-linked Fernandez Credit: Alamy

Chelsea have been warned that they could be “sanctioned or fined” after their “disrespectful” attempt to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.

The midfielder only joined Benfica in the summer from River Plate but he has emerged as a potential target for Premier League clubs after the World Cup.

The 21-year-old was one of the tournament’s standout performers as Argentina won the World Cup for the third time. He was also named the competition’s best young player.

Fernandez was naturally linked with Liverpool and Real Madrid as the tournament neared its conclusion but Chelsea later emerged as the favourites to sign him.

A deal for him was always going to be difficult as his contract includes a £103m release clause. Benfica have consistently insisted that they are unwilling to let him leave this month unless this buyout clause is met.

It was reported on New Year’s Eve that Chelsea were ‘one step away’ from signing Fernandez. It was claimed at the time that they were willing to pay slightly more than his release clause to move ahead of rivals. 

But Fabrizio Romano revealed earlier this week that this transfer has now ‘collapsed’ as Chelsea have ‘no agreement’ in place to sign Fernandez. 

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has since taken aim at Chelsea. He has indicated that the Premier League club “pretended” that they were willing to pay Fernandez’s release clause.

“There’s a club who want our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player,” Schmidt said.

“They tried to get the player on their side and they know they only can get this player when they pay the clause. So it’s a very clear situation…

“What the club is doing who wants to buy Enzo is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing. So to make the player crazy and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want to negotiate…

“I think it is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player.”

If Benfica decide to act against Chelsea, the English side could be “sanctioned or fined”, according to sports law professor Lucio Miguel Correia.

“FIFA regulations do not allow players to be approached by clubs to which they are not affiliated. That is why there are players’ agents,” Correia told Radio Renascenca (via Sport Witness).

“There are some sanctions or fines that can be applied, but I don’t think that’s the case, unless Benfica made a complaint about Chelsea.”

Regarding Fernandez, he said: “Benfica have had a lot of patience and contemplation because it is an important asset for the club.”

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