Enzo Fernandez' £106.8m transfer to Chelsea prompts bitter Schmidt reaction: 'We need players who are happy to play for Benfica'

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Benfica boss Roger Schmidt gave a bitter reaction to Chelsea's record £106.8 million ($131.6m) transfer for Enzo Fernandez on deadline day.

WHAT HAPPENED? The 21-year-old World Cup winner and Qatar 2022's Young Player of the Tournament starred in the most sensational transfer saga of the January window, with Schmidt going on record numerous times claiming Fernandez would stay at the club. After Chelsea completed a sensational last-minute swoop following days of tense negotiations, the Benfica boss understandably appeared a little dejected.

WHAT THEY SAID: "To lose a good player in the winter transfer window is always difficult. But we also showed today that we are capable of playing good football without him, that the players are focused to get a lot of points, to become champions. That's our goal," Schmidt told reporters after his side's 3-0 league win at Arouca on Tuesday. "Benfica is much bigger than one single player. We need players who are happy to play for Benfica, who are passionate. If some player decides to leave and a club [are willing to] pay the clause, then we cannot do anything. We accept [it] and look forward."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Tuesday's win without their midfield maestro extended Benfica's lead at the top of the Primeira Liga to 10 points ahead of second-placed Braga. Fernandez, meanwhile, is yet to be announced by the Blues, who bid farewell to midfield stalwart Jorginho on Tuesday but failed to send the necessary documents to allow Hakim Ziyech to join Paris Saint-Germain on loan.


Enzo Fernandez Benfica 2023

enzo fernandez chelsea

Roger Schmidt Benfica 2022-23

WHAT NEXT FOR FERNANDEZ? Following the inevitable announcements to be made by the club, Fernandez will likely be in attendance in some capacity when Chelsea take on Fulham on Friday, although the match may come too soon for a Premier League debut.