Liverpool were linked with a deal for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernández, but he is set to join another team for a large fee
Even by Chelsea’s standards, spending a whopping nine-figure sum on Enzo Fernández is lavish — and hardly the type of move you’d expect with their new head coach, Graham Potter.
Liverpool would have considered the Benfica player. Sky Sports reported in the summer that the Reds had placed a ‘watching brief’ on the Argentina star, who has only been playing in Europe for six months.
It’s unknown how interested the Reds were in the youngster, but it seems incredibly improbable that they would have considered investing the kind of money required to sign the 21-year-old this month.
According to Goal, Chelsea has made a bid of £112 million ($134 million/€127 million), which is higher than his £106 million ($127 million/€120 million) release clause. Benfica only signed Fernández in the summer, costing roughly £9 million ($11 million/€10 million).
While River Plate will be reimbursed a share of the amount as part of the sell-on clause negotiated when he departed South America, it is a sizable profit margin after only a few months in Portugal.
Gary Neville summed it up nicely on Twitter, writing: “Chelsea is paying €127 million for Enzo Fernández. That’s a steep price to pay. A fantastic player, but bloody heck!”
Chelsea are in a similar predicament to Liverpool in the center of the pitch, with the contracts of Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté expiring, and are in desperate need of youthful reinforcements.
Would Chelsea have pursued Fernández if he hadn’t impressed in the World Cup? Perhaps, but not at that cost. Even after that, Liverpool would not have gone anything near that amount.
That basically sums up the two primary difficulties that Liverpool is dealing with. To begin, they will need to consider their midfield alternatives very soon — ideally this month — but there aren’t a lot of young, cheap players to choose from.
Part of the reason Chelsea is willing to spend so much is that there are few players of Fernández’s caliber available, and none of them are cheap.
That brings us nicely to Liverpool’s other dilemma. They were willing to spend big on Aurélien Tchouaméni last summer before losing out to Real Madrid, and they’re intrigued in Jude Bellingham despite his exorbitant price tag.
However, they will require more than one player in the center of the field. As Jamie Carragher stated earlier this week, they “may need to spend £200m” ($240m/€227m).
Of course, FSG is looking for further investment, if not a full sale, which may be required for the Reds to fight at the very top. The sums of money being discussed today are massive, no doubt inflated by clubs like Chelsea being prepared to make the moves that they are at the moment.
Even with Chelsea’s desire to improve their midfield, spending that much money on Fernández is a risky move, with the player needing to be utterly transformational to justify his price tag.