Benfica head coach Roger Schmidt had made some interesting comments regarding the Chelsea attempts to land Enzo Fernandez. The Benfica boss claims that the Blues acted like they would pay the player’s full release clause, but then wanted to enter negotiations to drive the price down. Fernandez currently has a $126 million release clause with the Portuguese club.

Schmidt spoke on the issue with Chelsea during a press conference on Thursday. “We do not want to sell Enzo,” Schmidt said. “Not me, not the president, nobody.”

“We know, everyone knows he has a clause in the contract and if the player wants to leave and someone comes and pays the clause of course we cannot work against that. Then maybe we will lose the player.”

Benfica coach calls Chelsea ‘disrespectful’

“There is a club who wants our player,” Schmidt continued. “They know we don’t want to sell the player. They tried to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the clause.”

“So it is 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.”

“To make the player crazy and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want to negotiate, I think this is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player. So that’s what I can say about the whole topic of Enzo and I will not answer further questions.”

Blues pump-faked paying release clause

Chelsea apparently made Benfica feel like they would pay the release clause in full. However, the Blues reportedly submitted an opening offer in the $90 million range. Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has also claimed that discussions over a deal between the two clubs are now over.

It remains to be seen if the Premier League club will eventually go back to pay the release clause or move on to other targets. Fernandez was one of the breakout stars of the 2022 World Cup. The midfielder collected the title with Argentina and was awarded as the best young player at the tournament.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Marco Canoniero