The Stamford Bridge club have been in talks with Enzo Fernandez’s agent to bring the youngster to London this January, but it appears that that deal is off, judging by comments made by the Benfica coach.
The Argentine World Cup winner was the subject of a mega £ 112 million from Chelsea last week and was keen on the move. However, his club, through Schmidt, has all but confirmed that the 21-year-old midfielder will be staying in Lisbon until at least the summer.
“‘I already said that this question is closed. There is no issue anymore,” the Benfica boss told a press conference on Monday.
“He’s our player. He’s in a very good condition. He’s training well, he’s happy, so he’s part of the squad and a key player. I think I’ve already said everything about him.”
The manager’s comments come just four days after Fernandez was left out of the Benfica squad that beat Portimonense 1-0 at the Estadio da Luz.
Chelsea had been interested in bringing the 21-year-old to Stamford Bridge in this window and were keen on signing him quickly ahead of the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, who were reportedly interested in the midfielder.
The Blues were willing to go above his release clause and had gone ahead to agree on personal terms with the player before reaching a price agreement with Benfica.
That approach angered Schmidt and the club’s hierarchy, who saw Chelsea’s strategy as being too unprofessional. Schmidt revealed last week his side are not interested in doing business with the Blues.
“There’s a club who wants our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player,” Schmidt said last Thursday.
And so it seems that despite having his head turned, Fernandez will stay at the Estadio da Luz until at least the summer of 2023.