Potter ‘fully backs’ Chelsea’s pursuit of Fernandez as Boehly bids mind-boggling British record fee

Jason Soutar
Graham Potter after a match

Chelsea have reportedly submitted a £105million bid to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez with head coach Graham Potter ‘fully backing’ their pursuit.

The Blues have spent £189.5m on seven new players in the winter transfer window and are relentlessly trying to sign Fernandez.

They had been in talks with Benfica earlier this month before eventually deciding against completing the signing due to the Portuguese club’s demands.

Benfica president Rui Costa told Chelsea to pay Fernandez’s £105m release clause, which would require one single payment.

Unsurprisingly, Todd Boehly was not eager to do so, mainly because of Financial Fair Play regulations.

The Blues’ big-money January signings will all be paid for over multiple payments and were signed on long-term contracts to spread the cost to avoid FFP repercussions.

Despite Benfica’s stubborn stance, Chelsea recently reopened negotiations and tabled a fresh offer on Monday.

This is according to The Telegraph. The report states that the Premier League club have bid £105m, but they have offered to stagger the fee ‘across one large payment and five later payments’.

Chelsea had previously tried to tempt Benfica into a sale by offering players in exchange, but Costa has always told the Blues to trigger Fernandez’s release clause.

His release clause being triggered feels extremely realistic, and it would not be a shock whatsoever if this bid is the best Benfica will receive.

It remains to be seen whether or not Costa’s stance will change now that Chelsea have offered to pay what the 22-year-old’s release clause is, but over multiple payments.

A £105m transfer fee would be a British record, eclipsing Jack Grealish’s £100m move from Aston Villa to Manchester City as well as Chelsea’s club record signing of Romelu Lukaku for £97.5m.

The report states that Graham Potter ‘fully backs Chelsea’s pursuit’ after being ‘hugely impressed’ by the Argentine’s performances at the World Cup.

Co-controlling owner Behdad Egbhali and director of global talent and transfers Paul Winstanley are ‘ready to clinch a deal’ and are willing to fly out to Portugal to make it happen.

They did the same in order to beat Arsenal to the signing of former Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mkyhaylo Mudryk.

Personal terms will not be a problem for Chelsea with Fernandez very keen on a move to Stamford Bridge.

After being eager to leave earlier in the window, Fernandez is now ‘remaining patient’ and hoping to find out where his future lies as soon as possible.

Transfer expert David Ornstein also confirmed the £105m bid.

Writing for The Athletic, Ornstein said: ‘Chelsea have made an offer worth €120million (£105m, $130m) for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

‘The west London club are insistent on getting the deal done before the transfer window closes on Tuesday at 11pm.

‘They are seeking a successor to Jorginho, who is set to become a free agent this summer, and saw a £55million bid for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo rejected earlier this month.’

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