February 02, The Athletic UK Chelsea reporters Liam Twomey and Simon Johnson published winter
(The following is a key overview)
——Egbali and the signing team completed the negotiations in Cobham on the deadline. Their priority is Enzo, and their interest in him began with the World Cup (DO said it before).
— On January 3, Burleigh and E. Feliciano boarded a plane to London with Egbali.
They had dinner that night at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge with Benfica president Rui Costa and Enzo’s intermediary, Jorge Mendes, to discuss player purchases.
The meeting lasted until midnight and resulted in a positive outcome, although a transfer fee was not agreed at the time.
——Benfica made it clear that they want the full payment of the 120 million euro termination fee.
Chelsea believe such a high fee is unjustified for a player who only joined Benfica from River Plate for 18 million euros last summer and Wolves have come close to signing him for a similar amount.
——At that time, Chelsea never considered an offer close to the release fee.
Their best offer in early January was €85m, which could include some players on loan or on a permanent basis.
(This offer is also the problem that was previously considered to annoy Benfica, and TA confirmed this here)
——But after learning of Chelsea’s interest, Enzo has made up his mind to continue his career in the Premier League and is waiting for a breakthrough in negotiations.
——Four weeks have passed, and the outside world believes that the transfer has broken down.
But in fact, there has been constant communication between the two clubs throughout January.
When Chelsea resumed talks on Tuesday morning, they were determined to seal the move.
And a few days before the deadline, Chelsea finally made up their minds: they must meet Benfica’s asking price to take Enzo away.
——Considering that they have always insisted that the upper limit of their offer is 85 million euros, this change can be understood as a major concession to Benfica.
And more importantly for Chelsea, they learned that two teams will compete for Enzo at a price of 100 million pounds in the summer window. They think that they really have no advantage in the summer window.
(These two clubs have not been exposed)
——Eggbali, assisted by the club’s recently appointed global talent and transfer director Paul Winstanley, worked hard to lobby Benfica to accept the conditions of the 7-term installment. Burley is actually connecting with the team remotely.
——On the deadline day, although Enzo was not included in the matchday squad, the senior management of the Lisbon club still demanded full payment of the transfer fee.
Chelsea can boast that they have money, but the reality is that cash flow is not enough.
——At 4:30 pm local time, sources in Portugal told TA that Benfica had agreed to allow Enzo to undergo a medical examination.
— By 6pm local time, the optimism within Cobham has faded and Chelsea are discussing the possibility of completing a deal in the summer.
——One hour later, the mood was repeated again, and they thought that the deal could be finalized in the winter window.
——Jorginho’s transfer fee DO has been mentioned, and in fact both parties have decided to break up. This deal has nothing to do with Enzo.
The relationship has not been affected, so there is still a chance Jorginho can return in some capacity once his playing days are over.
After the World Cup final, Burleigh looked at Enzo and told the team: Sign him for me
Even so, when Arsenal announced that Jorginho had joined the team, Portuguese media reported that Enzo would stay at Benfica for the season.
Negotiations have reached an impasse, possibly forever.
Chelsea sensed that Benfica were trying to buy time before the deadline.
It wasn’t until around 9.15pm that the Portuguese’s resolve frayed.
——Chelsea’s down payment is 30 million pounds (34 million euros), and the overall number of installments is 6.
Benfica confirmed the deal in a statement at 12.16am.