Benfica fuming with Chelsea transfer target Enzo Fernandez for taking private jet home for New Year against boss’ advice

CHELSEA target Enzo Fernandez has taken a step closer to a Premier League move after falling foul of current boss Roger Schmidt.

Benfica coach Schmidt is fuming with the Argentina midfielder for taking a private jet back home to South America for a New Year’s Eve party just hours after a 3-0 defeat.

Enzo Fernandez won the World Cup with Argentina last monthCredit: INSTAGRAM@VALUCERVANTES

The Benfica midfielder jetted back to Argentina for New Year's Eve against his manager's orders

The Benfica midfielder jetted back to Argentina for New Year’s Eve against his manager’s ordersCredit: Getty

His insubordination has enraged manager Roger Schmidt

His insubordination has enraged manager Roger SchmidtCredit: AFP

Schmidt advised Fernandez against the move but was ignored.

Portuguese leaders Benfica lost to third-placed Braga last Friday and do not play again until January 6.

The decision adds fuel to rumours that the newly-crowned World Cup winner has had his head turned by the prospect of a £106 million transfer to Chelsea.

Fernandez, who was voted Young Player of the Tournament in Qatar last month, may even have played his last game for Benfica.

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Chelsea have identified him as a major signing and are up for meeting the release clause in his contract.

But they would prefer payment in instalments rather than one lump sum.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter is receiving substantial backing in the transfer market as he battles to impose his philosophy on the team since taking over in September.

A £35m deal for Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile has been agreed and striker David Datro Fofana has been signed from Molde.

Fernandez, 21, is the top target though and with the player seemingly unsettled in Portugal, it will only further encourage Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly in his pursuit of a deal that could ultimately become the biggest in the club’s history.

Fernandez was due back at training with Benfica yesterday.

Potter is eager to bring in reinforcements before the January 31 deadline but admits doing so will be easier said than done.

He said: “I would say the January window isn’t so straightforward to find solutions.

“From my perspective, the autumn fixture list was an extreme period.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter is eager to bring in reinforcements in January

Chelsea boss Graham Potter is eager to bring in reinforcements in JanuaryCredit: GETTY

“And I would not want to make too many drastic assessments [on players] based on that extreme period.

“The team, as I see it, hasn’t functioned as maximally as I would have liked – and I think that it can do.

“I would say the job of the head coach is to focus on the players that are here and make them better.

“There’s room for improvement there for sure.”


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