Benfica boss tears into Chelsea over "disrespectful" Fernandez transfer pursuit

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Roger Schmidt is furious with Chelsea (Image: Benfica)
Roger Schmidt is furious with Chelsea (Image: Benfica)

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has sent Chelsea a fiery message amid the Blues' pursuit of star Enzo Fernandez, saying: "It's disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing."

Owner Todd Boehly and his fellow Chelsea chiefs have been busy during the early days of the January transfer window attempting to secure a mega-money deal for the 21-year-old midfielder, who has a release clause worth £106million.

But as the Blues are unable to stump up that much cash in a lump sum, Boehly and co have attempted to negotiate a higher overall fee, believed to be £112m, which would be paid in instalments. Stamford Bridge officials are also reported to have agreed personal terms with Fernandez, turning his focus towards west London and away from Lisbon, where he only arrived from River Plate six months ago and signed a deal until 2027.

All the behind-the-scenes drama has infuriated Schmidt, who views the Argentine World Cup winner as one of his most important players and hopes to keep him for what promises to be an exciting second half of the season at the Estadio Da Luz. Sat first in Liga Portugal and still in the Champions League, the German has had enough of Chelsea's efforts to prise Fernandez away from Benfica.

"There's a club who want our player. They know we don't want to sell the player," Schmidt firmly declared when explaining Fernandez's situation in a press conference on Thursday. "They try to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the [release] clause. So it's a very clear situation, what the club is doing who wants to buy Enzo.

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

"It's disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing. So to make the player crazy and then pretend they can pay the clause and later they want to negotiate, I think it's not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss a player. That's what I can say about the whole topic with Enzo and I will not answer further consequential questions."

Benfica boss tears into Chelsea over "disrespectful" Fernandez transfer pursuitRoger Schmidt is desperate to keep Enzo Fernandez at Benfica (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Have your say! Should Chelsea abandon their attempts to sign Fernandez? Let us know in the comments section.

Fortunately for Chelsea fans, they've at least managed to sign French centre-back Benoit Badiashile from Monaco in a reported £35m deal. Confirmed shortly after Schmidt's outburst, the France international, 21, has put pen to paper on a whopping seven-and-a-half-year contract which keeps him at Stamford Bridge until 2030.

Badiashile becomes Graham Potter's second signing as Chelsea manager, but he still wants more. "We will try in every window to improve," the Blues boss admitted this week. "But January is a complicated one because it's the middle of the season."

Nathan Ridley

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation