Benfica boss accuses Chelsea of ‘disrespecting in Enzo Fernandes’

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.

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