Chelsea eye Jude Bellingham and three other midfielders if Enzo Fernandez deal fails in January


Chelsea are said to be monitoring four other midfield options in the transfer window should they fail to reach an agreement to sign Benfica star Enzo Fernandez. It comes as the Blues continue to be linked heavily with the World Cup winner after his displays in Qatar saw him win the Young Player of the Tournament award. The 21-year-old has attracted interest from a whole host of clubs, but it appears clear that the only way to land him would be through triggering a £105million release clause in his contract.

That option would completely skip any need for negotiations with Benfica themselves after they made their stance clear on any deal. An official statement on the youngster was released by the Portuguese outfit on Thursday night, claiming:

"We insist saying that our intention is to keep Enzo here until the end of the season,"

clarifying that any claims made from other reports were not the case at all. Despite that, the Blues still appear to be trying for a move as Fabrizio Romano reports that the club are in direct contact with Benfica over a deal. This is so the club can pay a huge transfer fee on their terms, rather than paying it all in one lump sum to trigger a release clause.

The recruitment team are ready in the eventuality that the youngster cannot join in the near future as the Athletic claims that a shortlist has been drawn up. Along with Fernandez are England stars Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice, who have both previously been linked.

Brighton and Ecuador ace Moises Caicedo is also said to be of interest while Southampton's Romeo Lavia is also on their radar, having impressed with the Saints since joining from Manchester City. It shows that there are plans in place for Chelsea, should they miss out on a prime target.

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