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Chelsea: David Ornstein claims Todd Boehly won’t be held to ransom for Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea are going into the January transfer window loving the Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez but will not pay over the odds for the Argentine.

What’s the word?

Reliable journalist David Ornstein has claimed the Blues have entered the January market with a midfield reinforcement firmly on their radar and Fernandez is certainly one of their options. However, he has also said the Londoners will be disciplined in their pursuit of the gem who shone at the World Cup.

“I can tell you that Chelsea love Enzo Fernandez. They love Jude Bellingham as well,” Ornstein told NBC Sports.

“There’s no doubt that they are focusing on Enzo Fernandez but not at all costs, reports that they have agreed or are on the verge of agreeing a deal, as my understanding are not quite accurate. That’s not to say that they won’t. It’s to say that they won’t be held to ransom. They’re going to be disciplined in this situation.”

The future of the 21-year-old appears to be up in the air following his success in Qatar with Benfica reportedly expected to hold out for the player’s €120m (£106m) release clause if he is to leave this month.

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Cesc Fabregas in action for Chelsea

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Fabrizio Romano has suggested the 21-year-old would green-light a move to Stamford Bridge despite only making the move to Portugal last summer from River Plate in a deal believed to be worth in the region of €12m (£10.6m).

Blues won’t be bullied

Although Ornstein has suggested the Blues are in love with this player, he did also make it clear that Todd Boehly will not be bullied into paying over the odds for the midfielder on the back of his displays for Argentina.

During his displays for Argentina which saw him awarded the Young Player of the Tournament award, the 21-year-old completed the most tackles and most passes into the final third of the pitch among all players in the Qatar competition (via Squawka).

However, it is not just in the World Cup where he has shone with previous praise coming from journalist Guilherme Lopes in 2022 where he claimed the player “has everything to be world-class”.

Who would you prefer at Chelsea?

Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez

Declan Rice

Declan Rice

High praise for a player who is clearly providing a huge influence despite being just 21. But it is still a huge price to potentially pay for a player who hasn’t played a full campaign in Europe yet.

It is also believed Chelsea hold a strong interest in the West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice ahead of this summer’s transfer window – a player with vast Premier League experience at a young age.

Albeit with Rice playing for a struggling West Ham side, this season has seen Fernandez attempt on average 45 more passes per 90 minutes than the Englishman (via Fbref).

And the Argentine has a much, much higher pass completion rate than the West Ham midfielder but Rice does edge Fernandez when it comes to tackles completed per 90 – although only marginally (via Fbref).

With Rice and England international and established Premier League player, his price tag will likely be in a similar range to Fernandez so it will be interesting to see what avenue Boehly goes down in the coming months.