6 Enzo Fernandez alternatives Chelsea could sign

Chelsea are in the market for a new midfielder
Chelsea are in the market for a new midfielder / Pixsell/MB Media/GettyImages

Chelsea have been pushing hard to sign Benfica's Enzo Fernandez, but they've found themselves frustrated thus far.

The Blues' reluctance to pay his €120m release clause has proven problematic and has yielded a furious response from Benfica manager Roger Schmidt, who accused Chelsea of being 'disrespectful'.

While signing Fernandez would be a huge move, it's not the only avenue Chelsea could explore as there are a plenty of other midfielders out there who are worth considering.

1. Alexis Mac Allister

Alexis Mac Allister
Mac Allister is an obvious option / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Shining alongside Fernandez with Argentina at the World Cup was Alexis Mac Allister, a man who current Chelsea boss Graham Potter knows incredibly well.

Mac Allister blossomed into a star under Potter at Brighton and has proven himself capable of hanging at the highest possible level, while his Premier League experience should make him even more appealing.

Under contract until 2025 but with a 12-month extension clause in his deal, Mac Allister would cost at least £50 but he's a viable option who would undoubtedly improve Chelsea.

2. Moises Caicedo

Moises Caicedo
Caicedo excelled under Potter / Richard Sellers/GettyImages

Sticking with Brighton, Chelsea could act on their longstanding interest in Moises Caicedo, who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge during his time in Ecuador before he joined the Seagulls.

Caicedo is a real box-to-box talent, which is something Chelsea don't really have. It has been a while since the Blues have been able to rely on N'Golo Kante and, with the Frenchman now 31, it's time to start planning for the future by signing someone like Caicedo.

His contract is one year shorter than Mac Allister's, and his limited exposure at the World Cup should make him the cheaper option of the two.

3. Manu Kone

Manu Kone
Kone is destined for a big move / ANP/GettyImages

One of the most exciting talents in the Bundesliga is Gladbach midfielder Kouadio 'Manu' Kone. The 21-year-old has Ligue 1 experience with Toulouse but has made a name for himself in Germany.

Comfortable as both a typical number 8 and a lone defensive midfielder, Kone's versatile skill set has attracted plenty of interest from across Europe and it feels like just a matter of time before big money is splashed on the Frenchman.

He's not the elite creator that Chelsea are crying out for, but he is the energetic, high-potential prospect that can make any team better. Chelsea should be all over Kone.

4. Edson Alvarez

Edson Alvarez
Chelsea chased Alvarez in the summer / BSR Agency/GettyImages

As an out-and-out defensive midfielder, Edson Alvarez could add some much-needed security to Chelsea's team.

A lack of protection from midfield has long been blamed for Chelsea's defensive struggles, with Jorginho's position in front of the back four a common concern among fans.

Chelsea moved for Alvarez during the summer, seeing a £43m offer rejected, and the Mexico international wanted the move, so there is a chance this could be quite a simple transfer to pull off.

5. Romeo Lavia

Romeo Lavia
Chelsea are keen on Lavia / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Romeo Lavia was also on Chelsea's radar during the summer, with a £50m bid failing late in the same transfer window in which he had already joined Southampton for around £14m.

Fans of youth football will not have been surprised to see Lavia's seamless transition to senior football at the start of this season - he even scored in a 2-1 win over Chelsea - before a hamstring injury curtailed his momentum.

The Belgian returned to action to find Southampton flailing in a relegation battle and perhaps could be lured away at the second time of asking.

6. Declan Rice

Declan Rice
Rice is on Chelsea's radar / George Wood/GettyImages

Undoubtedly the toughest, and most expensive, option on this list is West Ham's Declan Rice. Chelsea are massive fans of the England international and have long been planning to try and sign him in 2023.

Rice, who came through the Chelsea academy and is close with a number of Blues stars, is in the final 18 months of his contract but also has a 12-month extension clause, so it is approaching do-or-die territory when it comes to this transfer.

As an excellent all-round midfielder with significant Premier League experience, Rice is as close to a guaranteed win as Chelsea will find, but that comes with a significant cost.