Enzo Fernandez’s antics after Argentina won the World Cup haven’t gone down well with his current club, Benfica.
Fernandez was one of the stars for Argentina of the World Cup and it appears that the adulation has gone to his head!
In a totally unjustified move, he returned to Argentina without the club’s permission on New Year’s Eve.
Naturally, the Benfica management is very upset.
Fernandez missed two training sessions on Monday after returning to Argentina for New Year’s Eve.
While Benfica have refused to comment on how Fernandez will be disciplined, the playmaker has been warned that he ‘must show up for training’ on Tuesday.
The reason for this behaviour is not hard to fathom.
Fernandez, 21, has been linked with a move away from the Portuguese giants in recent weeks as many clubs seem to be interested in signing him on.
The midfielder, who was crowned as the Young Player of the Tournament, reportedly has a huge €120million (£105.6m) release clause written into his contract – which hasn’t deterred several interested suitors.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have expressed interest and it appears that the youngster is edging closer to an exit.
Fernandez’ trip to Argentina came shortly before reports claiming that Chelsea are edging closer to sealing a blockbuster deal for the coveted midfielder.
There were rumours that the Blues were thrashing out the ‘final details of a €127m (£112.5m) agreement.
The fee, which is slightly higher than Fernandez’ release clause, would be paid in instalments if the final formalities can be wrapped up in the coming days.
Fernandez was coy when quizzed over his future by Argentine media last week but he stopped short of ruling out a big January switch.
He said: “I don’t know about my future or proposals, that’s what my representative is taking care of. I don’t want to get into the subject. I am focused on Benfica, we have a game on Friday.”
Benfica chief Rui Costa insisted last month that the Portuguese giants had no appetite to cash in on any of their players.
Currently, they are focussed on winning a 38th domestic crown under Roger Schmidt.
It seems likely, though, that Costa has changed his mind softened in the wake of Chelsea’s mammoth proposal. Or he could be playing hard-to-get, which is a common negotiation tactic.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly was expected to spend big in January after spending in excess of £250m in the summer.
That spending spree was concluded before Thomas Tuchel was axed back in September.
The current manager, Graham Potter, was always likely to be handed funds in the New Year to stamp his own mark on the Blues squad.
It is believed that Chelsea are also closing in on a £35m deal for Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile.