Chelsea close to agreeing British transfer record £115million in deal for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea have initially made a £105.6million bid for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez on Monday, which is the player’s release clause, with the Blues close to agreeing a deal.

Chelsea have now proposed a British transfer record of £115million which is pending Benfica evaluation to be accepted for the transfer of midfielder Enzo Fernandez to Stamford Bridge.

Todd Boehly’s Blues want to structure that release clause fee in instalments, as paying in one go has Financial Fair Play and tax implications.

Chelsea have been in talks to sign the Argentina World Cup winner throughout this month but Benfica had refused to do business unless the Blues pay the €120m (£105.6m) release clause.

Chelsea had offered players on loan and on permanent deals but the Portuguese side refused to accept anything except the release clause figure.

The midfielder has once again told Benfica that he wants to join Chelsea. If Fernandez does move to Stamford Bridge, he would surpass the £100million Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish from Aston Villa 18 months ago, making him the most expensive Premier League signing ever.

The 22-year-old wants to move to Chelsea but he has been training and playing since he was dropped for one game by Benfica for going on an unauthorised trip home to Argentina for a New Year’s Eve party.

Fernandez, who won the Best Young Player award at the 2022 World Cup with winners Argentina, played in Saturday’s 3-0 league win at Santa Clara.

The west London side have also tried to sign other midfielders this month, including Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and Everton’s Amadou Onana.

Chelsea’s search for a midfielder comes amid question marks over the long-term futures of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, whose contracts expire at the end of the season.

Fernandez is in line for a big pay rise if he moves but Benfica have been trying to get him to sign a new contract as they anticipate clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona will try to sign him in the summer.

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