Report reveals mind-boggling Chelsea, Fernandez offer with Ziyech offered in players-plus-cash deal

Jason Soutar
Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech and Blues target Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea reportedly tried to tempt Benfica into selling Enzo Fernandez by offering them £75million and Hakim Ziyech, plus two players on loan.

The Blues had been optimistic about their chances of finalising the signing of the 2022 World Cup Young Player of the Tournament this week.

However, it now looks like the Argentine midfielder will not be moving to Stamford Bridge this month, with Chelsea unwilling to meet Benfica’s asking price.

Fernandez has a €120m (£106m) release clause in his contract, and Benfica president Rui Costa has told the Premier League club the only way they can land the player is by paying that amount in full.

As it is a release clause, the Blues would have to cough up the fee in one single payment, which they are unwilling to do with Financial Fair Player regulators breathing down their neck.

There had been reports of Chelsea offering €127m across three payments of around €42m, but the Portuguese giants were not happy to accept those terms.

Fernandez really wants the transfer and has already told Benfica manager Roger Schmidt that he no longer wants to play for the club.

The 21-year-old is doing everything he can to force a move, having not turned up for two training sessions over the last week or so.

Reports of that €127m offer were refuted by reliable transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano, who believes the Blues’ final offer was worth €85m.

Talks are now at a standstill with Todd Boehly reluctant to up the offer, and especially unwilling to trigger the player’s mind-boggling release clause.

Should Chelsea pay €120m for Fernandez, his former club River Plate would receive €30m after including a 25% sell-on clause in the deal to sell the youngster.

While Romano reckons they offered €85m (£75m) to sign Fernandez, it has been claimed by Portuguese newspaper Record (via The Sun) that Chelsea made a much more interesting bid.

The Blues apparently offered £75m in cash and tried to tempt Benfica into a sale by adding winger Ziyech to the deal.

Ziyech is out of favour at Stamford Bridge and may well be sought after this month following a terrific World Cup with surprise semi-finalists Morocco.

It is added that Chelsea also offered Benfica two players on loan – one of which isn’t even a Blues player yet!

New signing David Datro Fofana – who joined from Molde for a fee in the region of £10m – was offered.

As was Brazilian teenager Andrey Santos, who is yet to complete his expected transfer from Vasco da Gama.

Fernandez and Ziyech both had brilliant World Cup campaigns with their respective countries.

The latter has been strongly linked with Italian champions AC Milan for the best part of a year now.

Given his lack of minutes under Thomas Tuchel and now Graham Potter, it would not be much of a surprise to see Ziyech seek a move elsewhere in the January window.

Chelsea have been linked with Arsenal target Mykhaylo Mudryk this week, with Shakhtar Donetsk hoping to receive €100m for the Ukrainian international.

Should Mudryk join the Blues, Ziyech’s minutes – already coming at a premium – would surely be reduced even more so.

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