Enzo Fernandez: Benfica coach brands Chelsea ‘disrespectful’ over pursuit of midfielder

Benfica coach Roger Schmidt has labelled Chelsea’s pursuit of Enzo Fernandez ‘disrespectful’.

Chelsea, who today confirmed the signing of Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, are looking to add Fernandez to their ranks before the end of the January transfer window.

The midfielder joined Benfica in August before going on to win the World Cup with Argentina in December, and he has a release clause of approximately £106million.

Discussing Chelsea’s approach for the 21-year-old, German Schmidt said per the BBC: “What the club is doing who wants Enzo, it’s disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica, and I cannot accept what they are doing.

“To make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want negotiate, I think is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player.

“Enzo, we don’t want to sell him, nobody wants to sell him at this club. Everybody knows he has a clause in his contract and, of course, if the player wants to leave and somebody comes and pays the clause, we cannot work against that. So, then maybe we will lose the player.

“There’s a club who want our player, they know we don’t want to sell the player, they tried to get the player on their side, and they know that they only can get this player when they pay the clause. So, it’s a very clear situation.”

Fernandez, should he join Chelsea, would become the Premier League club’s third signing of this transfer window. Alongside Badiashile, the Blues have also recruited Molde striker David Datro Fofana.

Enzo Fernandez celebrates Argentina’s World Cup final win over France in Qatar (Getty Images)
Enzo Fernandez celebrates Argentina’s World Cup final win over France in Qatar (Getty Images)

Graham Potter’s side are languishing in 10th at the time of writing, ahead of an evening clash with second-placed Manchester City.

Elaborating on the situation around Fernandez, Schmidt said: “First of all, Enzo is a very good boy and a fantastic football player. We like him a lot and, of course, we want that he stays at Benfica.

“Of course, the situation for him is not so easy because he played the World Cup, he became world champion, he got offers, and there’s a lot of money on the table.

“In this situation as a young player, you think about that, [it can] confuse you a little bit. I think that everybody can understand, but nevertheless he’s a very good boy.

“He was not [in training] last week, he had no permission to go to Argentina. He missed the training, so that is not acceptable [and] that’s why it will have consequences.”