scramble | 

Battle to sign Argentina World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez takes big twists

The scramble is on to seal a deal for Fernandez, with a third English club emerging as a strong contender.

Enzo Fernandez was a star at the 2022 World Cup finals© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

The battle to sign Argentina World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez is heating up, with a growing expectation that he will leave Benfica next month.

Reports shortly after Fernandez’s impressive performances at the World Cup in Qatar suggested Benfica would look to hang onto their star midfielder and consider a sale next summer.

Yet that stance appears to have changed, with the Portuguese media reporting Benfica are already looking for a replacement for the 21-year-old who was named as the best young player at Qatar 2022.

Benfica were initially keen to secure a deal that would allow Fernandez to stay in their squad until next summer, but that option appears to have been taken away from them with Fernandez’s value at it’s peak.

Now the scramble is on to seal a deal for Fernandez, with a third English club emerging as a strong contender.

As the Sunday World reported on our latest back page, Manchester United and Liverpool have expressed an interest in signing Fernandez, with the two English giants making their intentions to seal a deal clear in recent days.

Now it has emerged that Chelsea are also keen to snap up a player who has seen his value soar after his stunning performances with Argentina.

A fee in excess of €100million will be demanded by Benfica, with Chelsea ready to offer the best financial package to the player in a bid to get a deal over the line.

Liverpool’s interest in Fernandez has been known since before the World Cup, but they are also determined to press forward with a move for Jude Bellingham next summer.

After agreeing to sign Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven earlier this week, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may struggle to convince his club to finance further deals for Fernandez and Bellingham.

Manchester United’s absence from the Champions League is an issue that could hamper their efforts to sign Fernandez, yet Old Trafford chiefs are keen to add another midfielder to their line-up as they push to secure a return to the competition next season.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Chelsea have already started talks with Benfica and the player’s advisers over a potential move, with a decision set to be made when the player returns from his World Cup break.

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