Enzo Fernandez has told Benfica he does not want to be involved in their match against Portimonense on Friday as he looks to push through a move to Chelsea.
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The West Londoners have made a Premier League record offer of £112m to sign the Argentina midfielder off the back of his superb campaign out in Qatar.
Chelsea are hoping to pay that that fee in three yearly instalments of £37.5m with the club still in discussions with Benfica who have asked for his release clause, worth £106m to be paid in full.
Talks between the two teams continue, with Record claiming on Tuesday Chelsea are now starting to cool their interest with the transfer likely to be delayed until the summer.
In any case, Fernandez remains interested in joining Chelsea this month and has agreed personal terms and a salary package with the Premier League club.
Fernandez played 89 minutes in Benfica’s first match back after the 2022 World Cup last Friday, a 3-0 defeat to Braga.
The 21-year-old midfielder then defied his club by returning to Argentina to ring in the New Year, missing club training in the process.
Fernandez missed two more sessions on Monday but was seen returning to training on Tuesday.
The midfielder is likely to face disciplinary action from Benfica but according to O Jogo, he has informed them he does not want to be involved in their next game which will take place on Friday.
Fernandez is reportedly begging Benfica president Rui Costa to push through the transfer but he is still hoping to keep the star in Portugal until the summer.
Fernandez, who just moved to Benfica from River Plate in the summer, was seen tearing up on the bench in the closing stages of his team’s 3-0 defeat to Braga last week.
Asked if the Argentine star had played his last game for the club in his post match press conference, his manager Roger Schmidt said: ‘In my opinion Enzo played well today.
‘I don’t know if it was Enzo’s last game. He is a great player, since he arrived at Benfica he has played fantastic football.
‘And even as a person he is totally identified with the club. As I said before, in football sometimes things happen and players have to make decisions. Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks.’