Chelsea are pressing ahead with a club-record transfer that could see Enzo Fernandez arrive at Stamford Bridge in January, but that big-money deal has reportedly forced Todd Boehly to attempt a last-ditch swap deal to try and save funds elsewhere. The American billionaire has offered a revised deal to AS Monaco in a bid to reduce the cost of Benoit Badiashile’s transfer.
The 21-year-old looked set to join the Blues in a £35million deal this month after the two clubs thrashed out a fee during expedited talks, with Graham Potter keen to add another defender to his ranks. Only the final details were left before the move could be considered to have been completed.
But according to French outlet Media Foot, Chelsea have thrown a spanner in the works by asking to include Malang Sarr in the deal and reduce the fee they would pay for Badiashile.
Sarr, 23, is already on loan with the Ligue 1 outfit and has featured seven times for Philippe Clement’s side this season. And it seems after deeming the centre-back as ‘no longer fitting in their plans’, Chelsea are hoping to use the former Nice defender as a makeweight in the deal.
The loan agreement for Sarr includes an obligation to buy the French defender if certain conditions are met, and Chelsea are counting on using that clause to convince Monaco to accept a lower initial fee for Badiashile.
Boehly is apparently concerned about the financial scale of their £112m (€127m) offer to sign Argentina star Fernandez this month. The 21-year-old won the Young Player of the Tournament award after playing a key role in the Albiceleste’s historic triumph in Qatar and Benfica are reluctant to sell as they want to keep him until the end of the season.
Talks are ongoing between the two clubs after Fernandez informed the Portuguese outfit of his desire to join the Blues, although it is understood he would be willing to wait until the summer if the two clubs cannot agree on a fee.
Fernandez has a release clause of £106m (€120m) but Chelsea cannot risk paying the entire fee up front due to Financial Fair Play regulations (FFP) and are hoping to structure the deal by paying more overall but in separate instalments – having reached a similar deal with RB Leipzig to sign Christopher Nkunku.
Boehly and Clearlake Capital have already invested over £300m in transfer fees since their £4.25bn takeover was ratified in May, but there is not an endless supply of funds at Stamford Bridge – especially with their £80m committed spending to sign Nkunku, David Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos.
Chelsea fans will be hoping Fernandez is the next player to arrive, but it remains to be seen whether Benfica will accept Chelsea’s staggered offer of payments for the highly-rated midfielder.
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