Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has lambasted Chelsea's pursuit of Enzo Fernandez and accused the Premier League side of driving the player crazy.
The Blues are keen to sign the Argentine midfielder and seemingly agreed to pay the player's €120 million release clause.
However, reports claim that Chelsea have been trying to negotiate a deal that is differently structured than paying the full amount of the clause upfront.
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Blues' offer was €85 million, which falls below the €120 million release clause.
This has infuriated Benfica, with Schmidt commenting on the situation in an interview with Portuguese media.
The German coach said (via B24PT):
“There is a club that wants Enzo. They know we don't want to sell, they try to have the player on their side... It's a lack of respect and unacceptable, for them to drive the player 'crazy' they say they pay the clause and then want to negotiate?”
He added (via O Jogo):
“What you are doing is disrespectful, you are going to leave the player crazy, pretend that we want to pay the clause and after that we want to negotiate”
Enzo Fernandez has enjoyed a meteoric rise at the Estadio da Luz since joining the Portuguese club from River Plate this past summer for €14 million.
He has featured 25 times across competitions, scoring three goals and providing five assists.
However, his displays for Argentina during La Albiceleste's 2022 FIFA World Cup triumph in Qatar truly drew the world's attention to the midfielder.
Fernandez made seven appearances, scoring one goal and contributing an assist.
He was awarded the Best Young Player award for his exploits during the FIFA World Cup.
The Blues were touted alongside the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester United with holding an interest in Enzo Fernandez.
Chelsea reportedly have Moises Caicedo on their wishlist alongside Enzo Fernandez
While Chelsea are eager to sign Enzo Fernandez, they have another midfield signing in their sights in Brighton's Caicedo.
The Ecuadorian midfielder has been identified as a potential replacement for N'Golo Kante.
Caicedo has emerged as one of the Premier League's most promising midfield talents, making 18 appearances, scoring one goal and providing an assist.
He impressed at the FIFA World Cup with Ecuador, featuring three times and scoring one goal.
Reports suggest that the Blues are willing to offer £79 million to sign Caicedo from Brighton.
Chelsea manager Graham Potter previously worked with the midfielder at Brighton before arriving at Stamford Bridge in September.
He lauded the player and claimed that it would take an astronomical fee to lure him away from the Amex Stadium (via the Daily Mail):
"In football you never know, but we are quite calm and confident. You'd probably get his boots for that from the chairman - maybe! £100m? They can try. It doesn't surprise me that people are looking at him because he is playing at a fantastic level."
Caicedo arrived at Brighton from Independiente del Valle for £4.5 million in January 2021. He has three years remaining on his contract with the Seagulls.