Premier League • England

Chelsea ready to admit defeat on disastrous signing, as key clause tees up January move

Chelsea stars Carney Chukwuemeka and Andrey Santos

Andrey Santos has left Chelsea again

Chelsea are considering whether to pull the plug on a failed summer transfer involving Nottingham Forest, and a key clause present in the player’s contract could help facilitate his next move, per a report.

The Blues have splashed out over a billion pounds on player recruitment in the Todd Boehly era. £100m-plus deals for the likes of Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caciedo have caught the eye. However, a sizeable chunk of the spending has come on stockpiling some of world football’s brightest young talents.

Among those who fit that billing is Brazil international, Andrey Santos.

Indeed, Chelsea paid Brazilian side Vasco da Gama a package worth roughly £16m to spring his signing last January.

The central midfielder was loaned back to Vasco de Gama for six months before joining up with Chelsea ahead of pre-season.

A season-long loan to Nottingham Forest then took shape, with Steve Cooper’s side securing the deal on August 25.

The move was seen as a fantastic opportunity for Santos to develop his game in Premier League surroundings. What’s more, Forest boss Cooper comes with a reputation of being a superb developer of rising young stars.

However, the switch has proven to be nothing short of disastrous from Chelsea’s perspective, with Santos limited to just two appearances thus far.

His only outing in the Premier League lasted just seven minutes. The 19-year-old has been an unused substitute on six occasions and didn’t even make the matchday squad for Forest’s clash with West Ham prior to the international break.

The lack of action is surprising to a degree, not least because Santos is so highly regarded in Brazil.

Indeed, he captained Brazil to the South American Under-20 Championship earlier this year and joint-top scored (six goals) in the tournament with Vitor Roque. Santos was even handed his senior Brazil debut back in a friendly against Morocco in March.

Yet Forest and Cooper have not seen fit to regularly feature Santos and per The Evening Standard, Chelsea could pull the plug.

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Break clause allows loan termination

The report states Chelsea included a break clause that can result in the season-long loan being cut short in January. The clause can be activated if Santos fails to reach a specific number of appearances come the winter window.

Precisely how many appearances are required wasn’t listed in the piece. However, given Santos has only played twice so far, it stands to reason he’s unlikely to go beyond the threshold before January rolls around.

The Evening Standard add two options will then be open to Chelsea – finding a new club to loan Santos to or retaining him in Chelsea’s first-team squad for the remainder of the season.

But given Fernandez and Caicedo are practically unmoveable in the engine room and Chelsea’s fixture list is not congested by a European campaign, another loan exit would make the most sense.

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