Benfica president Rui Costa has said that midfielder Enzo Fernandez can leave in January if any interested club is prepared to meet the €120 million (£106m) release clause in his contract.
The Argentine has been in splendid form since his move to Benfica from River Plate last summer. He was superb during his first few months at the club and went on to impress at the World Cup.
Fernandez was initially on the bench in Qatar but manager Lionel Scaloni soon realised his potential and decided to play him ahead of Leandro Paredes in the defensive midfield role.
His stock has definitely risen after the World Cup success and Costa has now made it clear that Benfica won’t sell him in January unless a club is willing to trigger the buy-out clause.
He told DAZN via Goal: “We don’t want to give up Enzo Fernandez in January, but we are willing to please the boy in the event of a €120 million offer.”
United must pay club-record fee for Fernandez
United were reportedly scouting Fernandez at River Plate earlier this year, but they were beaten to his signature by Benfica, who paid only €12m (£10.6m) up front.
The club’s indecision on the player has proved costly. The youngster is now one of the most-sought after midfielders in world football following a superb World Cup.
United have recently intensified contacts with Benfica for his services, but their chances of signing him are slim, particularly with interest from Chelsea and Liverpool.
The Blues are currently said to be leading the race to sign the 21-year-old and United have no choice but to pay a club-record £106m fee to open transfer talks.
Whether they will do so is a big question. United’s main priority for January is a new striker and this has been repeatedly confirmed by manager Erik ten Hag.
They don’t need another defensive/central midfielder for now, but may not get another chance to land Fernandez with clubs wanting to sign him this winter.
Fernandez, who was described as ‘spectacular‘ by Argentina’s Lionel Messi at the World Cup, has all the hallmarks of being a world-class midfielder in future.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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