HomeSportsAmid Chelsea Interest, Benfica Condemn 'Disrespectful' Enzo Fernandez Approach

Amid Chelsea Interest, Benfica Condemn ‘Disrespectful’ Enzo Fernandez Approach

Last Updated: January 06, 2023, 09:16 IST

Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez (Reuters)

Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez travelled back home to Argentina last weekend and missed training without permission, coach Roger Schmidt said amid reports linking him with Chelsea

Benfica coach Roger Schmidt said the club have no intention of selling Argentine World Cup star Enzo Fernandez for less than his buy-out clause amid reported interest from Chelsea.

“There is a club who want our player,” Schmidt said, without naming Chelsea.

“They know that we don’t want to sell the player, they try to get the player on their side” with “a lot of money”.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who won the World Cup with Argentina in Qatar, joined the Portuguese club in July but there is speculation over a possible transfer to the Londoners.

Local media reported that he missed two training sessions before returning to Lisbon after his Argentina visit.

“He was not here (earlier this) week, he had no permission to go to Argentina, he missed training, that’s not acceptable,” Schmidt told reporters after Fernandez played for the Primeira Liga leaders in a 3-0 defeat at third-placed Braga on Friday.

“Enzo is a very good boy and a fantastic football player. We love him and of course we want him to stay at Benfica.

“The situation for him is not easy. He played a good World Cup, became champion, got offers, and there’s a lot of money on the table. As a young player, that confuses you.”

Fernandez, who joined Benfica from River Plate in the summer has a 120 million euro ($126 million) buy-out clause in his contract, and Schmidt said the bidding club was trying to avoid paying that.

“To make the player crazy and then to pretend they can pay the clause, and later they want to negotiate.

“They try to get the player on their side. It’s disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing.

“There is a lot of money on the table. It confuses you a little bit,” Schmidt said of the player who has missed training in an extended stay in Argentina.

The 21-year-old was voted best young player at the World Cup after breaking into the side out in Qatar.

Chelsea have been struggling this season under new chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali.

The club sit 10th in the Premier League, ten points off fourth placed Man United at the halfway stage of the season.

The Londoners bought France international defender Benoit Badiashile from Ligue 1 side Monaco on Thursday.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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