Monday, July 22, 2024

Enzo Fernandez provides spiky response amid Man Utd and Liverpool transfer tussle

Enzo Fernandez is staying firmly coy about the transfer swarm surrounding him.

Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly locked in a battle to sign the Argentine sensation, who shone at the World Cup and alerted Europe’s top clubs to his talents on the biggest stage of all. While Liverpool are said to have reached a pre-contract agreement with Fernandez, United were alleged to have overtaken their age-old Premier League rivals before Christmas.

But now there’s word from the horse’s mouth, and the 21-year-old himself is solely focussed on his immediate future at current club Benfica. Having triumphed with Argentina merely nine days ago, the same glorious day in Qatar on which he also picked up the young player of the tournament award, Fernandez is already raring to get going again at club level and cap off a star-making 2022 with another victory.

“I don’t know about my future or proposals, that’s what my representative is taking care of,” the ex-River Plate prodigy is reported as saying by Argentine media. “I don’t want to get into the subject. I am focused on Benfica, we have a game on Friday.”

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While Fernandez’s comments don’t rule out a big-money transfer, it affirms that he’ll be returning to Benfica for the second half of this season with his focus intact. The 37-time Portuguese champions will travel to face Braga hoping to extend their eight-point lead at the top of Liga Portugal, with their midfield dynamo standing out in their impressive campaign so far.

His performances domestically and in the Champions League, where Benfica will face Club Brugge in March for an enticing round-of-16 clash, have piqued the interest of European heavyweights, such as United and Liverpool. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are believed to be big fans, alongside Arsenal and Newcastle United.

Regardless of who makes a move for Fernandez, they’ll likely have to fork out his €120million (£105.6m) release clause. Benfica president and Portuguese football icon Rui Costa has also made it clear that his club aren’t keen on selling their key assets in January, with star striker Goncalo Ramos also tipped for a big-money move.

“We have the sole objective of having a winning season, no player will leave – unless it is due to the clause – which at this moment is fundamental for the squad,” Costa declared during the World Cup, as Fernandez and Ramos’ individual stocks rose rapidly.

“What I can promise our supporters is what I did at the beginning of the year. This is a sporting project, not a financial one. Fortunately, we are not experiencing financial problems and we have no need to sell players.”

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