Benfica president Rui Costa has expressed his displeasure with Enzo Fernandez’s behavior prior to the transfer deadline for his move to Chelsea.
The Argentine, who had a breakout tournament at the World Cup in the previous year, became the subject of a British-record transfer as the Blues and Todd Boehly kept up their recent trend of spending big by forking over more than £100million to secure the midfielder’s services.
Benfica made a significant gain from the transaction considering they paid just over £10 million to get Fernandez in the summer. Rui Costa, on the other hand, had a problem with the manner in which the Argentine had conducted himself previous to winning the move. According to Rui Costa, the Argentine had made it obvious that he did not want to remain in Lisbon until the summer.
Costa said, “Enzo Fernandez did not want to stay at Benfica. He did not give us any opportunity to succeed. I gave it my all, and while I’m disappointed, I’m not going to grieve over a player who chose not to remain in the team. When Chelsea arrived, it became quite difficult to convince him of anything else.”
“On the day that the transfer deadline passed, we were able to reach a deal to sell Enzo to Chelsea in the summer, but he insisted on leaving. It was unrelenting from the minute Enzo realized [Chelsea would pay] the value of the clause until it was finally resolved. We made it clear that we expected the player to remain with Benfica, but he did not indicate any willingness to do so.”
“I suggested to Chelsea that he stay until the summer for a lower value, but the player did not want to continue at Benfica – and this is when everything changed. At that time, I exclaimed, “He has no business continuing to play for Benfica, there is no way!” I’m not going to shed any tears for players who refuse to put on our jerseys.”
“I had a glimmer of optimism that Enzo would be interested in competing for the championship title alongside us. As soon as it dawned on me that he had no intention of doing so, I made up my mind that I did not want him to put on the Benfica shirt ever again. Benfica would never be able to keep a player who, despite having the opportunity to avoid forfeiting a Euro and having a contract with Chelsea that is guaranteed, does not want to continue playing for the club.”
Fernandez was finally sold for a total of £106 million, with more than £20 million going to his previous club River Plate. River Plate included a sell-on provision in Fernandez’s contract a little over a year ago. The Argentine will provide further depth to the Chelsea midfield, which currently features players such as N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, and Mateo Kovacic, among others.
After completing his transfer to Stamford Bridge regarding his reasons for joining the Blues, Fernandez made the following statement: “Chelsea is a great club, it’s a team that is always battling for trophies and it’s a club that has won the Champions League in recent years.” Together, we will work toward accomplishing everything that the club has outlined as its goals and elevating the organization to the next level.”