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Manchester United ‘must pay over £100m for Enzo Fernandez’

Manchester United ‘must pay over £100m for Enzo Fernandez’

Manchester United will be forced to pay in excess of £100m if they wish to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez in January, according to a report.

The Red Devils were linked with a summer swoop for the 21-year-old, but Portuguese giants Benfica won the race for his signature and signed him for around £12m from River Plate.

Fernandez has since established himself as a crucial cog in Roger Schmidt‘s machine at the Estadio da Luz this season, recording three goals and four assists in 22 appearances across all competitions.

The 5ft 10in midfielder is under contract at Benfica until the summer of 2027, but it is thought that Man United are one of a number of clubs keen to lure him away from Lisbon in the New Year.

After missing out on primary target Frenkie de Jong over the summer, Erik ten Hag is still believed to be on the lookout for a new midfielder and the Dutchman is expected to delve back into the transfer market in January.

Benfica's Enzo Fernandez pictured on August 5, 2022© Reuters

According to numerous reports in the Portuguese media, via the Daily Mirror, the Red Devils are one of several top clubs who are interested in signing Fernandez.

However, the report adds that Benfica are under no pressure to sell the midfielder and will not entertain offers below his £103m (€120m) release clause.

Liverpool are also believed to be keeping tabs on Fernandez, with Jurgen Klopp keen to bolster his midfield options as they bid to push for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

The likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers have also been credited with an interest.

Fernandez is currently away on international duty with Argentina at the 2022 World Cup, and although the youngster is yet to start a match in Qatar, he has made an impressive impact off the bench on two occasions.

Enzo Fernandez celebrates scoring for Benfica on August 5, 2022© Reuters

The San Martin-born midfielder came off the bench to score his first international goal in Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Mexico on Saturday, while he also came on for the final half-hour in the shock 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia in their Group C opener.

Fernandez has received plenty of praise for his rise on the global stage from the likes of seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who believes the midfielder deserved all the plaudits that are coming his way.

“I know Enzo very well, here from the national team and I also played against him in the Champions League,” Messi told reporters after the win against Mexico.

“He deserves it, because he’s a spectacular kid and a very important player for us. I’m very happy for him and for us, because the goal he scored gave us peace of mind in the game.

“We didn’t expect to start the World Cup with a loss, so we wanted to turn the situation around. Enzo’s great goal ended the game and now we can face the game against Poland in a different way.”

Fernandez will be hoping to force his way into Lionel Scaloni‘s starting lineup when Argentina face Poland in their final group game on Wednesday.

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