Chelsea close on Enzo Fernandez signing

With the opening of the January transfer window coming closer, there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Chelsea close in on Argentina star Fernandez

Chelsea are hoping to complete the deal for Benfica forward Enzo Fernandez early in the January transfer window and are prepared to pay the £105 million release clause in his contract, reports the Evening Standard.

Fernandez, 21, suffered an inauspicious return to club football on Friday night as Benfica slumped to a surprise 3-0 defeat at Braga. The Argentina international, fresh from winning the World Cup and being the tournament’s best young player, played 89 minutes before being substituted.

However, it could be his last game for the Portuguese club with Chelsea now ready to trigger the clause. The only sticking point appears to be whether Chelsea pay the fee up front or in installments, reports the Daily Mail.

Chelsea have met Benfica club president Rui Costa and super-agent Jorge Mendes, eager to get in ahead of Liverpool and Manchester United

“I don’t know if that was the last match of Enzo,” Benfica head coach Roger Schmidt said after the loss to Braga. “I think Enzo is a great player. Since he arrived at Benfica, he’s played fantastic football. Also, as a person, he’s completely identified with the club. Sometimes things in football happen and then players have to make decisions. We will see what happens.”

Liverpool are unlikely to be contenders having signed Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven, but Man United are still trying to make a deal happen. Erik ten Hag has already lost out on Gakpo as a key target, and could now see another of the World Cup’s exciting young players head to a Premier League rival.

Benfica are reported to have offered Fernandez a new contract but would be powerless to stop him leaving in January should his release clause be met and he choose to leave.

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09.00 GMT: RB Leipzig have made contact with Spezia for defender Jakub Kiwior as a future replacement for breakout star Josko Gvardiol, according to FootMercato. Leipzig are keen to bolster their defensive reinforcements as they prepare for life without Gvardiol who has attracted interest from across Europe. Manchester City are just one of a number of clubs linked with Gvardiol, who endured a stellar World Cup as he helped Croatia to a third-place finish in Qatar. Foot Mercato also reported earlier in the week that the Premier League side offered over £85 million for the Leipzig defender earlier in December.


– Aston Villa have enquired about Gerard Deulofeu, according to FootMercato. Villa are looking to strengthen their options up front, having netted just 18 goals in 16 Premier League games this season, and the Udinese star is one target identified for January. The report states that AC Milan and Napoli were interested in the Spaniard last summer, but could not agree a deal with Udinese looking for €20m.

Marley Ake is set to depart Juventus in January for Genoa, according to journalist Gianluca di Marzio. The 21-year-old winger has made just six appearances under Massimiliano Allegri and could depart the club in the winter, with Genoa looking to strengthen their promotion bid back to Serie A. Ake joined Juventus in January 2021 from Marseille for €8m, but has struggled to break through with the Italian giants.

Matias Soule has decided against leaving Juventus on loan this winter, according to TuttoSport. Soule has struggled for consistent game-time this season, making eight first-team appearances, but the report states that he is eager to continue his development with the Bianconeri. The 19-year-old joined Juventus in January 2020 and has been viewed as a player with immense potential after progressing through the youth ranks.

– Arsenal have activated the option to extend William Saliba‘s contract until June 2024, according to The Athletic. Saliba’s deal was set to expire in June 2023, with the Gunners having a Dec. 31 deadline to trigger the option. The report also states that talks are continuing over a fresh contract for the defender.

Raul Jimenez could depart Wolverhampton Wanderers this January, according to the Daily Mail. Following the arrival of Matheus Cunha, Jimenez has slipped further down the pecking order at Molineux, and could be allowed to depart this winter. The report states that Wolves have been open to offers for the Mexico international since the summer, and with new coach Julen Lopetgui interested in adding another striker in January, it could spell the end to Jimenez’s stay at Wolves.