Chelsea, which this Thursday confirmed the signing of defender benoit badiashile from Monaco for 38 million euros, has made Fernández a priority target. There have been days of talks and Fernández has told Benfica that he does not want to play for them again, but Schmidt insisted that a deal was only possible if Chelsea paid the buyout clause, understood to be €120m. euro.
“There is a club that wants our player,” Schmidt said. “They know that we don’t want to sell the player. They try to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the clause. So it’s a very clear situation. What the club that wants to buy Enzo is doing is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing.
“So driving the player crazy and then pretending they can pay the clause and then they want to negotiate, I think that’s not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who might want to discuss the player.”
Fernández has angered Benfica by returning to Argentina without their permission while pushing for the move. Benfica would like to keep the 21-year-old until the summer and Chelsea maintain that he does not want to overpay and will leave if a deal cannot be reached.
Strong recruiting under part-owner Todd Boehly continued with the signing of Badiashile to a seven-and-a-half-year contract. He is the third central defender hired since the end of last season, after Kalidou Koulibaly and the injured Wesley Fofana.
Badiashile is Chelsea’s second January acquisition, following striker David Datro Fofana. The club is also interested in Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk, but his preference is to join Arsenal.