Premier League • England

Graham Potter closes on first winter signing with shock fee revealed as Chelsea trump Newcastle, Barca for Brazilian youngster

Andrey Santos Vasco de Gama 2022 TEAMtalk1

Chelsea are reportedly closing in on a cut-price deal to sign Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos in the January transfer window.

The Blues have struggled during the first period of 2022-2023. Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel at the helm and initially signs were good. The Stamford Bridge outfit won three straight top-flight games under the ex-Brighton chief.

But they went into the World Cup break with no wins and just two points from their last five Premier League outings.

Having lost their final three matches before the season hiatus, the west Londoners will be eighth in the table when the campaign resumes in late December.

It seems as though new owner Todd Boehly is prepared to back his manager.

Many players have been linked with a move to the club. And a new name has joined the list, with 18-year-old Santos said to be on the radar.

French outlet Le10Sport first mentioned Chelsea’s interest in the South American on Tuesday.

They suggested that the capital club were in advanced negotiations to sign him for only €15m. And journalist Jorge Nicola has reacted to the news, per Sport Witness.

The Brazilian suggests he has spoken to Santos’ entourage and was told that, while there are ‘advanced conversations’ with Chelsea, they ‘didn’t close’.

But it appears as though things are moving quickly on the possibility of a deal.

Nicola also states that he was told Vasco executive Paulo Bracks will return to Brazil later his week. And his presence should see the deal completed.

Santos cut-price fee explained

Santos has shone for the Rio de Janeiro-based outfit, scoring eight goals in 33 Serie B games this year.

The starlet has been capped four times by the Brazil Under-20 side, scoring twice for the nation’s youngsters.

But it seems as though he is ready to take the next step and the path trodden by so many Brazilians.

Other clubs have been linked with the Rio-born ace. Barcelona were thought to hold an interest.

However, Spanish outlet Sport suggested last week that the Catalans needed ‘more time’ to fund the transfer.

That left the way open for Newcastle United to land the talented schemer.

Eddie Howe has guided the Magpies to third in the Premier League after a superb run of form.

He has the financial backing to compete for the top players. And it was reported that the Tynesiders would ‘bid hard’ for Santos.

But Le10Sport’s suggestion that just €15m might change hands for the transfer to be finalised negates Howe’s spending power.

Jorge Nicola claims he was told Santos fee was much less than the expected €35m due to his style of play.

He is a defensive midfielder, with attacking midfielders far more sought after and with a heftier price tag.

That is good news for Chelsea who may well be getting a talented youngster at a knockdown price.

Oher clubs have also been linked, with Paris Saint-Germain, Wolves and Aston Villa mentioned in connection with the player.

Chelsea appear to hold all the aces if the report is to be believed.

But Newcastle might yet have a say in proceedings, with their lofty status making St James’ Park an attractive place to come.

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