Premier League • England

Fabrizio Romano reveals Chelsea must let Brazilian gem depart as Potter plans go up in smoke

Brazil's Andrey Santos kisses the champions trophy after winning the South American U-20 Conmebol Tournament match between Brazil and Uruguay

Graham Potter’s hopes of immediately integrating January signing Andrey Santos into his Chelsea side have been vanquished.

The Brazilian is regarded as one of his country’s best young stars, having made a big name for himself with Vasco da Gama. Although operating in Serie B, Brazil’s second division, Santos underlined his qualities with eight goals from 34 appearances in midfield.

Indeed, the scramble to secure the 18-year-old’s services was a pretty ferocious one. Newcastle thought they had a deal in the bag, only for Chelsea – backed by Todd Boehly’s seemingly unquestionable thirst for new players – to win the day.

Paying around £11.5m (€12.8m) for Santos, hopes are high the midfielder will prove one of the Blues’ more astute captures.

Despite his tender years, Potter was hoping to immediately bring the teenager into the first-team picture.

Having just arrived in London following Brazil’s win in the Sudamericano Sub-20, Chelsea launched an immediate application for his work permit.

However, the player has fallen short of the standards needed to gain a UK visa. And that leaves Potter’s plans up in smoke.

As a result, Chelsea will instead allow Santos to return to his homeland. He will sign on loan for the rest of the year with Palmeiras.

The Brazilian side play in the Copa Libertadores and the Blues believe the experience will do him good. Furthermore, they hope he will accrue enough points to ensure he can claim a permit the next time they apply.

Now trusted reporter Fabrizio Romano claims the deal will be finalised to take Santos to Palmerias on Sunday.

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Chelsea see bright future for Andrey Santos despite loan exit

The arrangement will go through until December, the end of the Brazil Serie A season. Chelsea, though, will reserve the right to recall Santos in June. That’s on the basis that he qualifies for a UK permit sooner than expected.

“Andrey Santos will travel to Brazil on Sunday in order to complete his loan move to Palmeiras valid until December, end of Brazilian season,” Romano tweeted.

“Medical at the beginning of next week if all goes to plan.”

The Brazil Serie A is not due to start, however, until April 15, while the group stages of the Copa Libertadores does not begin until early April. That leaves Santos without competitive football for the next six weeks or so.

Nonetheless, Chelsea will be keeping a close eye on his progress in Brazil. And our transfer expert Graeme Bailey claims the Blues know they have a special talent on their hands.

“He hasn’t played for them yet but I am told Chelsea think they are getting one of their most exciting signings of recent seasons in the shape of Andrey Santos,” Bailey told TEAMtalk.

“The Brazilian was snapped up in a £12m deal, as they pipped Newcastle to his signing, who had been close to finalising a deal with Vasco Da Gama.

“He was denied a permit initially and there is some disappointment to see their second application fail. After captaining his country to the South American Under-20 Championship, they had wanted him to feature in the run-in to the season. Sadly that is not to be…

“But Chelsea sources firmly believe that Santos really is going to be ‘special’. The excitement over him at Chelsea is up there with landing the likes of [Mykhaylo] Mudryk and [Enzo] Fernandez.”

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