Chelsea set to make move for £80m Arsenal target after ‘closing in’ on £115m Fernandez deal

Joe Williams
Chelsea target Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea could make a move for Arsenal target Moises Caicedo once they get a deal for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez wrapped up, according to reports.

The Blues have been pursuing Fernandez since the World Cup after the 22-year-old produced a number of brilliant performances to help Argentina win the tournament in Qatar.

Fernandez won the World Cup Young Player of the Tournament award and his displays attracted interest from a number of clubs – but Chelsea were the only ones to stick around after finding out Benfica’s asking price.

And it now looks likely that Chelsea will finally get a move for Fernandez over the line before deadline day with The Guardian claiming that the Blues are ‘closing in’ on an agreement.

Chelsea would have to pay Fernandez’s £106m release clause in one lump sum and instead they are ‘understood to be ready to pay about £115m in instalments’.

The Guardian add: ‘That arrangement potentially works for both parties. It allows Chelsea, who have spent more than £450m on signings since the end of last season, to avoid paying such a large sum in one go. Benfica will have held out for more than Fernandez’s clause.’

And Chelsea ‘could continue their remarkable spending by making a last-ditch bid’ for Brighton midfielder Caicedo after Arsenal had two bids rejected for the Ecuador international.

READ: Top ten transfers which should go through on a weirdly exciting January deadline day

Chelsea have also seen a £55m bid rejected for Caicedo, £15m less than Arsenal’s top offer, but a move for the Brighton star ‘could be dependent on outgoings’ with Conor Gallagher wanted by Everton and Jorginho courted by the Gunners.

Caicedo made it clear that he wants to leave Brighton before the transfer deadline with the 21-year-old taking to social media to express his feelings on a potential transfer.

He wrote last week: “I am grateful to Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best. I always play football with a smile and with heart.

“I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful.

“I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador. My dream always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.

“The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take this magnificent opportunity.”

READ MORE: January Transfer Deadline Day 2023 – follow it live with Football365