Chelsea have made an opening 18-month loan bid for Benfica midfield star Gedson Fernandes that will include an obligation to make his move permanent for £55m after the loan ends.

The 18-year-old has been put up for sale by the Portuguese heavyweights this month and is one of Benfica’s prized assets. Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Manchester United, have also shown interest in the midfielder and it is believed that they have made an offer along the same lines as Chelsea.

However, Man Utd are only willing to fork out around £33m for Portuguese midfielder, whereas the Blues are happy to pay £55m should the midfielder feature in over 50% of Premier League games during his 18-month loan spell at the club, according to Sky Sports.

Frank Lampard is desperate to strengthen his team this month after seeing the transfer ban lifted earlier last month.

The West London club have allocated significant funds to Lampard and recognise that he was not given the £88m earned from Belgian superstar, Eden Hazard’s sale to Real Madrid last summer.

The ball is now in Fernandes’ court and it will be up to the midfielder to make a decision on which team he joins.

Manchester United could make a formal offer with Norwegian manager desperate to recruit a midfielder this transfer window following the injury crisis of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba.