Benfica head coach Roger Schmidt says is ‘not thinking about’ a move to and is confident he will not leave the club this month.
Chelsea failed to agree a deal for the Argentina international earlier this month but are planning a renewed push for him before the January window closes having maintained close contact with his agent in recent weeks.
Benfica are adamant he will not leave for less than his £106million release clause.
The Blues have shown they are not afraid to splash the cash this month having already spent £160million on six new signings.
Their attempts to sign Fernandez earlier this month were boosted by the 21-year-old’s desire to make the move happen. The midfielder agreed personal terms with Graham Potter’s side and returned to Argentina to celebrate New Year’s – missing training in the process – as he attempted to facilitate the move from his end.
Fernandez’s stance has changed however with reports in Portugal claiming on Wednesday he is happy to see out the season at the Estadio da Luz.
Speaking at a press conference today ahead of Thursday’s league match against Pacos Ferreira, Schmidt confirmed the player is not expected to leave.
Asked if he was confident of Fernandez staying, Schmidt said: ‘Yes. When you see Enzo playing for Benfica you see a very happy player, in great shape.
‘He’s not thinking about anything else. I’m not expecting to lose any of our regulars, and that’s why I see very focused players and I hope this stays that way’.
Earlier this month, the Benfica boss slammed Chelsea for their ‘disrespectful’ approach, accusing the club of making Fernandez ‘crazy’ and ‘trying to pretend’ they can pay the release clause.
‘There is a club who want our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player,’ he said. ‘They tried to get the player on their side and they know they can only get this player when they pay the clause.
‘It is a very clear situation. What the club is doing, it is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing.
‘So to make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and then later they want to negotiate, it is not what I understands to be good relationship between clubs who want to discuss players.’
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