Liverpool have not yet made a bid for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez but Chelsea are “seriously exporing the situation”, according to a respected journalist.
There has been speculation that Liverpool have made a bid for Fernandez over the last week with the Argentina star impressing at the World Cup, winning the Young Player of the Tournament award.
Chelsea have also been linked with rumours they are ready to pay over his €120m release clause to make sure they can structure payments and avoid Financial Fair Play repercussions.
Benfica president Rui Costa told DAZN: “We don’t want to give up Enzo Fernandez in January, but we are willing to please the boy in the event of a €120million offer.”
But CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs insists that Liverpool have not made a bid while Chelsea are “exploring” the possibility of bringing Fernandez to the club in January.
Jacobs wrote on Twitter: “Benfica are adamant suitors must pay the release clause.
“Not true Liverpool have bid. Chelsea are seriously exploring the situation but want a deal with more preferable payment terms. If they offer higher than the release clause to get this, Benfica aren’t obligated to accept. Benfica really want to keep Fernandez until at least summer.”
Jacobs added on TikTok: “A January move is complicated. He only joined Benfica in June, let’s not forget, from River Plate for a guaranteed fee of just €10m. Fernandez now has a €120m release clause.
“An ambitious suitor could just trigger this but the fee must be paid up front, potentially causing Financial Fair Play issues. Chelsea have registered an interest and are now seriously exporing the situation.
“But they have already been told that Benfica don’t want a mid-season sale, especially with knockout Champions League football to come. Benfica play Club Brugge in the Round of 16.
“If Chelsea do move their preference is actually to offer a bit more than the release clause, as they did when they signed Christopher Nkunku from Leipzig, who will join for over €60m in the summer of 2023.
“This tactic allows them to pick more preferable payment terms, helping to spread the cost and alleviating any concerns around the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules or Financial Fair Play.
“But unlike paying the release clause, Benfica can reject any offer, even a much higher one, and their president Rui Costa has already intimated that he doesn’t want to lose Fernandez so soon after joining.”
Jacobs insists Fernandez’s thoughts have also got to be taken into account with the Argentina international unlikely to push for a winter move.
The CBS Sports journalist continued: “Fernandez almost ended up joining Manchester City last summer before eventually moving to Benfica. Fernandez is not desperate to exit in January and that’s why Benfica are pretty calm about the situation. They’re basically telling suitors to trigger the release clause or walk away.
“And if the release clause is met, leaving Benfica powerless, they would still make €5m for every game, 24 in total, Fernandez has played to date. Unless the release clause is met, resulting in a huge outlay up front, Benfica can control the situation, especially knowing Fernandez may well prefer a summer move.
“And so we wait and see if anybody has the ambition, desire and financial muscle to trigger the massive release clause – but right now suitors are hesistant to take that approach.”
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