Chelsea are preparing to launch a fresh bid to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, according to reports in Portugal.
The Blues have been spending freely under Todd Boehly but sit in 10th in the Premier League.
Having signed Noni Madueke, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Joao Felix, Benoit Badiashile, David Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos this month, you would expect the Londoners to climb up the table.
Fernandez emerged for Chelsea as a top target after his wonderful World Cup with winners Argentina.
Despite the endless funds Boehly has handed to Potter, the club can not really afford to sign Fernandez as Benfica want his €120million release clause to be triggered, which would have to be paid in one go.
Chelsea reportedly tried to tempt Benfica into a sale by offering a large sum paid over several years, as well as Hakim Ziyech on a permanent deal and Santos and Fofana on loan.
The Portuguese giants were not interested, however, with sporting director Rui Costa telling the Blues to pay the player’s release clause.
Despite a deal appearing to be dead in the water, Portuguese newspaper Record say Chelsea are ‘preparing a new raid’ for Fernandez.
It is reiterated that Benfica will not accept ‘a penny less’ than €120m for their prized asset.
Monday’s edition of Record states (via Sport Witness): ‘In December, Chelsea came to Lisbon to negotiate with the Reds and proposed paying €127m in instalments, with Rui Costa (Benfica’s sporting director) intending to receive the value of the clause in cash.
‘Subsequently, Chelsea officials changed the terms of the proposal and put on the table an offer of €90m plus Ziyech’s transfer on a permanent basis and the loans of Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos.’
Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has been less than impressed with how Chelsea have pursued Fernandez and will surely be rolling his eyes at the prospect of Potter’s side coming back in for the Argentina midfielder.
Speaking earlier this month, Schmidt said: “There’s a club who want our player. They know we don’t want to sell the player.
“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…”