Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has called Chelsea “disrespectful” to chase Enzo Fernandes and accused them of “pretending” to pay a €120m release clause.
ESPN reported on Wednesday that a source close to Benfica said Chelsea were willing to pay, or even pay, the transfer fee for the 21-year-old, while sources close to the Premier League club said they were willing to pay more.
said it denied reports that it would accept such an assessment.
Chelsea are known to have hinted during the negotiations that they might pay a higher amount instead of paying in annual installments.
However, with Benfica demanding a full upfront payment and talks with Fernandes eager to move to Stamford Bridge continue, Schmidt said at a press conference on Thursday ahead of Benfica’s Primeira Liga clash with Portimonense that Chelsea’s expressed dissatisfaction with the approach.
“I don’t want to sell the Enzo,” Schmidt said. Not “me”, not “president”, not “who”.
“If the player wants to leave and someone pays the terms, of course you can’t work against it, and you might lose the player.”
“There are clubs that want our player. They know we don’t want to sell them. I also know that if I don’t pay, I can’t have him.”
“So the situation is very clear. The club’s move to buy Enzo is disrespectful to Benfica for all of us and we cannot accept what they are doing.
“I don’t think it’s a good relationship between clubs to talk about players if you drive them crazy and make it look like you can pay the terms and want to negotiate. That’s all I can say about Enzo.” I will not answer the question.”
A source told ESPN that Chelsea believe they have a lot of leeway in complying with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, but that the club’s attempt to set a low initial transfer fee would be a shame.
In part, he said, it comes from the realization that he spent more than €305m in the summer and wants to invest heavily in the transfer market again.