Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Chelsea agree payment structure with Benfica over £112m Enzo Fernandez deal

Enzo Fernandez is now close to joining Chelsea after the London club agreed a payment structure in principle with Benfica over a £112m deal, according to reports.

The Blues are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League table, are keen to invest big this month and have already agreed a deal with Monaco for Benoit Badiashile while they also want to bring in a new midfielder.

Chelsea’s new-look recruitment team have identified Fernandez as the ideal signing to help their ageing midfield, though Benfica have been adamant he will only leave if his £106m release clause is paid completely.

That has proven to be a stumbling block and Chelsea have been locked in negotiations for weeks, though Fernandez has agreed personal terms with the club.

Now Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio claims a compromise has been found and discussions are at an advanced stage with Todd Bohely ready to shatter the club’s transfer record.

Chelsea have agreed to pay in excess of the midfielder’s release clause in exchange for Benfica accepting the fee in a couple of instalments over several years.

The total outlay for the deal will reach up to £112million but will be paid in three instalments in each of the next three transfer windows, with each payment up to £37m.

Chelsea would have risked breaching Financial Fair Play rules if they agreed to pay the whole fee in one lump sump and it would have affected their ability to buy other targets.

The final details of the deal are now being agreed and there is confidence from both parties that the transfer can be wrapped up quickly.

Benfica are now lining up a replacement and will look to raid Argentina once again, this time targeting Racing’s Carlos Alcaraz who will cost around £15m.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter, as well as the club’s recruitment team, have identified the midfield as an area of weakness while they are likely to lose Jorginho and N’Golo Kante on free transfers in the summer when their contracts expire.

Benfica spent £17m on Fernandez back in June, meaning they stand to make huge profit – though former club River Plate will be entitled to a cut of the profits.

Fernandez would not have been granted a work permit to join a Premier League club back in the summer, having not started for Argentina at that point, but his starring role at the World Cup has now changed his situation.

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