Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Benfica boss slams ‘disrespectful’ Chelsea over attempts to sign Enzo Fernandez

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has blasted Chelsea’s ‘disrespectful’ approach for Enzo Fernandez and accused the club of making the player ‘crazy’ in order to force the move.

The Portuguese club have been adamant the Argentine star will not leave the club for less than his £106million release clause.

Chelsea have attempted to negotiate a deal, offering to pay £112m over three yearly instalments with reports in Portugal also claiming they have offered £79m along with Hakim Ziyech and two other players on loan.

But in an astonishing attack on the Premier League team, Schmidt has accused Chelsea of ‘trying to pretend’ they can pay the release clause in a huge assessment of their attempts to bring Fernandez to Stamford Bridge.

‘We do not want to sell Enzo,’ Schmidt told a press conference on Thursday. ‘Not me, not the president, nobody.

‘We know, everyone knows he has a clause in the contract and if the player wants to leave and someone comes and pays the clause of course we cannot work against that. Then maybe we will lose the player.

‘There is a club who want our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player. They tried to get the player on their side and they know they can only get this player when they pay the clause.

‘It is a very clear situation. What the club is doing, it is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing.

‘So to make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and then later they want to negotiate, it is not what I understands to be good relationship between clubs who want to discuss players.’

Fernandez has reportedly agreed personal terms with the Blues and defied by Benfica by returning to Argentina to celebrate New Year, missing training in the process.

While the 21-year-old midfielder is facing a punishment for those actions, Schmidt says Benfica still hold him in high regard despite the London club’s attempts to turn his head.

‘Enzo is a very good boy and a fantastic football player. We love him and hopes he stays at Benfica. But of course, the situation for him is not so easy, he played in the World Cup and became world champion and he got offers and there is a lot of money on the table.

‘In this situation as a young player, you think about that. It can confuse you a little bit, I think that is something everyone can understand. But never the less he is a very good boy. He was not there last week, he did not have permission to go Argentina, he missed training and that is not acceptable so that is why he will have consequences. But I will not announce them now.’

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