Benfica president Rui Costa has revealed he won’t shed any tears over Enzo Fernandez’s departure to join Chelsea.
The 21-year-old became the most expensive transfer in British football history when he secured a £107million move to Chelsea on Monday after month-long negotiations between the clubs.
The Blues were alerted by Fernandez’s superb performances in Argentina’s run to World Cup glory in Qatar and quickly made him their No.1 transfer target.
Benfica had been reluctant to sell the star who only joined the Portuguese giants last summer from River Plate.
But Chelsea’s persistence proved too much for Fernandez who made clear his intentions to move to west London.
Costa granted Fernandez his wish to play in the Premier League as Benfica prepare for their league game against Arouca on Tuesday night and explained he doesn’t want to keep a demotivated player.
“Enzo Fernandez did not want to stay at Benfica. He didn’t give us a chance,” the Benfica president said.
“I did my best, I’m sad, but I’m not going to cry for a player who didn’t want to stay. When Chelsea arrived, it was really impossible to change his mind.
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Costa continued: “On deadline day, we reached an agreement to sell Enzo to Chelsea in the summer, but he didn’t want to stay.
“From the moment Enzo realized [Chelsea were going to pay] the value of the clause, he was relentless. We tried to insist, but the player didn’t show an openness to continue at Benfica.
“I offered Chelsea to stay until the summer for a lower value, but the player didn’t want to continue at Benfica – and that’s when everything changed.”
Meanwhile, Fernandez’s former club River Plate are set to receive a huge financial windfall after inserting a 25% sell clause in the deal that brought Fernandez to Benfica.
The Argentina side will pay a whopping £26.75million fee for the World Cup-winning midfielder.
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