Transfer roundup: Chelsea still hopeful of signing Enzo Fernández from Benfica
- Argentina international has £106m release clause
- Chelsea have already added Malo Gusto to host of new arrivals
Chelsea are trying to complete a deal for Benfica’s Enzo Fernández before the transfer window shuts on Tuesday night and are ready to take their spending under their new owners to over £500m by buying the Argentina midfielder.
The Stamford Bridge club failed with a bid for Fernández earlier this month but are hopeful of landing the midfielder after resuming talks with Benfica over the weekend. Chelsea, who have strengthened their defence by signing Malo Gusto from Lyon, are keen to bolster their midfield and have already failed with approaches for Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo, who is wanted by Arsenal, and Everton’s Amadou Onana.
With Caicedo and Onana out of reach as it stands, Chelsea have switched their focus back to Fernández. The 22-year-old, who played a pivotal role in Argentina’s World Cup triumph, has a £106m release clause in his contract and Benfica do not want to lose him before the end of the season. Portuguese sources insist that Benfica will demand the clause is paid in full. Chelsea, who have spent more than £450m since being bought by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, are hopeful that they can find a compromise on a lower fee.
One solution could be that Chelsea come up with an overall package worth £106m. There have been suggestions that an offer of cash plus a player could be tempting to Benfica. It is understood that Fernández, who was voted the best young player at the World Cup, is keen on moving to Stamford Bridge. But Benfica, whose manager, Roger Schmidt, has hit out at Chelsea’s tactics, have been trying to hold on to him. They could hand Fernández an improved deal if he stays.
Chelsea have already strengthened their squad with the permanent additions of Andrey Santos, Benoît Badiashile, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke, plus the loan signing of João Félix. Their latest move was the £31m signing of Gusto. The 19-year-old right-back, who will provide competition for Reece James, has been loaned back to Lyon for the rest of the season.
Graham Potter, Chelsea’s head coach, does not want his squad to become too big. Chelsea could look to move players out before the window shuts. Roma are interested in Hakim Ziyech but need to sell Nicolò Zaniolo, who is wanted by Milan and Bournemouth, before pushing ahead with a deal for the Moroccan winger.
Meanwhile Leicester have signed the Brazilian winger Tetê on a deal to the end of the season, subject to international clearance. The 22-year-old is contracted to Shakhtar Donetsk, but has been at Lyon since March 2022 under the Fifa ruling which allowed all foreign players to suspend their contracts in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. He is currently due to return to Shakhtar on July 1.
Tetê, who will become the first Brazilian to play for Leicester, has six goals and three assists in 17 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon this term and hopes to add some attacking impetus to a Leicester side who are just a point clear of the bottom three.
“I’m really happy to be here,” he said. “I’ve had a look at the pitch and the stadium, it’s beautiful and I can already imagine what it’ll be like with a lot of fans. I hope to score a lot of goals and assists. I hope they’ll all be happy to see me play. I’m happy to be a Fox.”
Tetê joined Shakhtar in February 2019 after breaking through with Grêmio and scored in the 3-2 Champions League win over Real Madrid in October 2020. He becomes Leicester’s second January signing, after the arrival of the Copenhagen left-back Victor Kristiansen.
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