Enzo Fernandez given 'ultimatum' by Benfica amid Chelsea transfer speculation

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Enzo Fernandez appears to be edging closer to a blockbuster transfer (Image: Diogo Cardoso/DeFodi Images)
Enzo Fernandez appears to be edging closer to a blockbuster transfer (Image: Diogo Cardoso/DeFodi Images)

Enzo Fernandez has been told to show up to training on Tuesday by Benfica after the Chelsea target returned to Argentina without the club's permission on New Year's Eve.

Fernandez, 21, has been linked with a move away from the Portuguese giants in recent weeks after playing a starring role in Argentina's recent World Cup triumph. The midfield maestro, who was crowned as the Young Player of the Tournament, reportedly has a huge €120million (£105.6m) release clause written into his contract - but that hasn't deterred several interested suitors.

As well as Chelsea, the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in Fernandez' services; and it appears that the youngster is edging closer to an exit.

According to Portuguese outlet A Bola, Fernandez missed two training sessions on Monday after returning to Argentina for New Year's Eve. While Benfica have refused to comment on how Fernandez will be disciplined, the playmaker has been warned that he 'must show up for training' on Tuesday.

Fernandez' trip to Argentina came shortly before reports claiming that Chelsea are edging closer to sealing a blockbuster deal for the coveted midfielder.

Chelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush rridzziquridttinvChelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush

Sky Sports Italy claimed late on Monday night that the Blues were thrashing out the 'final details of a €127m (£112.5m) agreement. The fee, which is slightly higher than Fernandez' release clause, would be paid in instalments if the final formalities can be wrapped up in the coming days.

Fernandez was coy when quizzed over his future by Argentine media last week but he stopped short of ruling out a big January switch. He said: "I don't know about my future or proposals, that's what my representative is taking care of. I don't want to get into the subject. I am focused on Benfica, we have a game on Friday."

Join the debate! Do you think Fernandez would be a good signing for Chelsea? Let us know here.

Enzo Fernandez given 'ultimatum' by Benfica amid Chelsea transfer speculationFernandez returned to action in Benfica's shock defeat against Braga last week (Diogo Cardoso/DeFodi Images)

Benfica chief Rui Costa insisted last month that the Portuguese giants had no appetite to cash in on any of their players as they go in search of a 38th domestic crown under Roger Schmidt.

It seems likely, though, that Costa's stance has softened in the wake of Chelsea's mammoth proposal for Fernandez, who would become the most expensive player in Premier League history.

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly was expected to splash the cash again in January after spending in excess of £250m in the summer.

That spending spree was concluded before Thomas Tuchel was axed back in September and the German's predecessor, Graham Potter, was always likely to be handed funds in the New Year to stamp his own mark on the Blues squad.

As well as chasing Fernandez, it is believed that Chelsea are also closing in on a £35m deal for Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, whose arrival is expected to be confirmed later this week.

Dan Marsh

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