Chelsea are planning a fresh move for Enzo Fernández after previously failing to agree a deal for the Benfica midfielder . His contract contains a £106m release clause and Benfica remain reluctant to sell the Argentina international for a lower fee. Chelsea tried to pay less during negotiations at the start of the window and ended up switching focus to other targets.
Graham Potter wants midfield reinforcements and Chelsea, who are spending heavily under their latest ownership, had a £55m bid for Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo rejected last week. An improved offer for the Ecuador international remains a possibility, with Brighton scouring the market for potential replacements for the 21-year-old.
However, Fernández, who played a key role in Argentina winning the World Cup last month, remains an option for Chelsea. Sources have indicated talks are due to resume this week. Benfica, who are in the last 16 of the Champions League, want to keep Fernández,who has repeatedly told them that he wants to join Chelsea, until the end of the season.
Chelsea have other midfielders in their sights, including Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister. They have spent about £460m on 15 players since being bought by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital,.
Chelsea are crying out for fresh legs in central midfield. Jorginho could leave on a free this summer, and although N’Golo Kanté is expected to extend his deal before it expires at the end of the season, the Frenchman has been out with a hamstring injury since August.
Chelsea are also expected to challenge for Declan Rice in the summer but Arsenal are emerging as favourites to sign the West Ham captain. Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid are seen as likelier destinations for Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
Boehly and Clearlake have been highly active in the transfer market. This month they have made the permanent additions of Andrey Santos, Benoît Badiashile, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke and the loan signing of João Félix.
Potter has warned that Chelsea’s squad must not become bloated. Sales of fringe players would be welcome. Everton are one of the clubs interested in the Morocco winger Hakim Ziyech. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a swift return to Barcelona.
Chelsea are also in the market for a right-back to provide cover for Reece James, who is close to returning from a knee injury. A bid for the 19-year-old Lyon defender Malo Gusto is expected but the French club do not want to sell.