It is being reported that Liverpool will be involved in an “open race” to sign Benfica and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez in the summer.
Fernandez only joined Benfica last summer but his reputation has gone through the roof over the past couple of months.
This has largely come amid his great showings for Argentina at the World Cup. He was named as the tournament’s best young player as the South American country won the competition for the third time.
His performances have naturally led to reports linking him with a move to the Premier League. Chelsea emerged as a likely suitor before the transfer window opened. But Benfica have insisted that he will not be given permission to leave unless his £106m release clause is met.
It was claimed that the Blues were ‘one step away’ from signing the midfielder but this transfer has since collapsed.
Benfica boss Roger Schmidt subsequently hit out at Chelsea over their “disrespectful” pursuit of Fernandez.
“There’s a club who want our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player,” Schmidt said.
“They tried to get the player on their side and they know they only can get this player when they pay the clause. So it’s a very clear situation…
“What the club is doing who wants to buy Enzo 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 later they want to negotiate…
“I think it is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player.”
It now looks likely that Fernandez will remain at Benfica until the summer. Ben Jacobs has indicated that there will be an “open race” for him later this year.
“If nothing dramatic happens in January, there will definitely be an open race for him come summer,” Jacobs wrote via Twitter.
“Chelsea, Liverpool and even Real potentially. Completely different negotiation in four months.”
Liverpool are known to be in the market for a couple of new midfielders. It is being widely reported that Jude Bellingham and Matheus Nunes are their preferred targets.