Chelsea plan further talks over Enzo Fernandez move on New Year's Day after they offered Benfica less than his £106m release clause - with moves for Benoit Badiashile and Joao Felix also being discussed
- Chelsea to continue an aggressive approach to transfers within January window
- The Blues will continue talks with Benfica over £106m-rated Enzo Fernandez
- Chelsea's owners want the World Cup winner to boost squad for tough fixtures
- Graham Potter admitted the World Cup was a struggle in training with absences
Chelsea will continue their aggressive approach to the January transfer window as further talks are planned today over a move for Benfica’s £106million-rated midfielder Enzo Fernandez.
The club’s owners are determined to arm Graham Potter with a squad that can mount a serious challenge during what will prove a taxing month with a double header against Manchester City and a visit to Liverpool to come.
World Cup winner Fernandez has indicated he wants to join if they can agree a fee. However, Chelsea have not offered the buy-out clause, instead preferring substantial instalments so to navigate Financial Fair Play guidelines.
Chelsea have stepped up plans to acquire Enzo Fernandez in a big money deal from Benfica
Chelsea are running parallel negotiations with Monaco over a £35m deal for centre-back Benoit Badiashile and, like Arsenal, have spoken to Atletico Madrid over a proposed loan for forward Joao Felix. They convinced David Fofana to join from Molde and have signed teenage midfielder Andrey Santos from Vasco da Gama by telling them ‘their dream is to sign the best young talents in the world’.
After taking the bold decision to sack Thomas Tuchel in September, Chelsea’s owners were hoping for a greater bounce when they appointed Potter but find themselves ninth in the table today as they face a Nottingham Forest side fighting for survival.
The signs were at least evident, last week against Bournemouth, of Potter’s ideas and patterns of play being absorbed. Chelsea looked more fluid but once again injury to key wing-back Reece James threw up another obstacle to their progress. Injuries have dogged Potter’s plans. He was not afforded the luxury of a pre-season and a combination of international breaks and growing casualty list have fractured the opportunities he has had to stamp his style on the team.
Graham Potter said it was tough work with limited squad players due to World Cup absences
‘It has been a real tough period, as challenging as there has been in my time as a coach,’ said Potter. ‘I get that it sounds like I’m making excuses... blah blah blah, but the break hasn’t been positive and I could have made lots of excuses had the result (against Bournemouth) not gone our way.
‘We had four (senior) players for the first two weeks (of the World Cup), then players dripping back in and the break people think we have to work with the players isn’t there. But you can’t make those excuses, you just have to win.’
Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic should be available again, along with Morocco playmaker Hakim Ziyech and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
But Ben Chilwell, Wes Fofana and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all continue their own recovery along with N’Golo Kante while Armando Broja is a long-term absentee and James is expected to be out for another month.
Reece James faces another month out of action after being taken off against Bournemouth
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