Benfica manager blasts 'disrespectful' Chelsea over Enzo Fernandez pursuit

Fernandez wants to join Chelsea
Fernandez wants to join Chelsea / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

A furious Roger Schmidt lashed out at Chelsea over their pursuit of midfielder Enzo Fernandez, labelling the Blues 'disrespectful' for the manner of their approach.

Chelsea agreed personal terms with 21-year-old Fernandez earlier this winter and had been pushing for a deal paid in instalments, rather than triggering his €120m release clause, despite Benfica's determination not to sell.

Fernandez even skipped Benfica training to return to Argentina without permission in an attempt to force through a transfer, but the Portuguese side's insistence on receiving the €120m in full has seen talks break down.

Now, Schmidt has provided a furious update on the situation.

"I want to start by saying that Enzo is a very good boy and a fantastic player," he said. "We like him very much and we want him to stay. But his situation is not easy.

"He played in a World Cup, was World Champion and there's a lot of money on the table. A player can get confused when he thinks about it and I think it's a situation that everyone understands. He wasn't allowed to go to Argentina, he missed training and that's not acceptable. There will be consequences.

"We don't want to sell Enzo, neither I nor the president. We all know that he has a clause in his contract. If he wants to leave and if someone pays this clause, we can do nothing.

"There is a club who want our player, they know we don't want to sell, they try to get the player on their side when they know they can only get this player when they pay the clause. It's a clear situation, what the club who is trying to buy Enzo is doing is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica. I cannot accept what they are doing.

"To make the player crazy, to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want to negotiate, it's not what I understand about good relationships between clubs who maybe want to discuss about a player."

Benfica have made it clear that they will not accept anything less than Fernandez's €120m release clause, paid in full, but Chelsea want a deal in instalments and 90min understands they have not yet given up hope of convincing Benfica to sell.

Fernandez has voiced his desire to join Chelsea this month and is set to be punished by Benfica for his absence from training, with Schmidt tipped to drop him from the matchday squad to face Portimonense on Friday.