Newcastle United and Barcelona are among the teams to have contacted Vasco da Gama over the availability of young midfielder Andrey Santos, according to a report.
Santos gained promotion from the Vasco da Gama academy in January and has gone on to play 27 times in their senior team, registering five goals. The 18-year-old is picking up lots of first-team experience, even if his team is currently in the Brazilian second tier.
Santos is part of the Brazil U20 setup. He could represent his country if Brazil qualify for the U20 World Cup in Indonesia next year.
The Rio de Janeiro-born starlet is picking up attention from some big clubs thanks to his impressive performances in his home country.
Back in April, Wolves and Barcelona were credited with an interest in signing him. AC Milan, Monaco and Benfica were also keeping tabs on his development at that point, according to Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte.
Fellow Brazilian source TNT Sports now come in with an update. They reveal Santos has penned a new five-year contract with Vasco da Gama, which will keep him there until 2027.
Club officials view the teenager ‘one of the great jewels’ in their squad, hence the fresh terms.
But the report also provides some information on where Santos may go next. Newcastle, Barca and Flamengo have all recently made contact about signing him.
Vasco da Gama in strong position regarding Andrey Santos
There is no mention of how Vasco da Gama responded to their advances. Presumably, they told the potential suitors that Santos was about to agree a new contract. This new obstacle means Newcastle, Barca or Flamengo will have to spend a decent amount to complete his signing.
But as Vasco da Gama are in the Brazilian Serie B, they will not be able to hold out for a huge sum. After all, Santos will likely reveal his desire to move on, should a big club come calling. This may force Vasco da Gama’s hand, as the player could refuse to play or train.
Newcastle already have strong midfield options, including the likes of Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock. Jonjo Shelvey and Sean Longstaff are available to Eddie Howe as well, though the former is recovering from hamstring surgery.
Santos is unlikely to get into the first eleven ahead of all of these players, should he move to St James’ Park. But there is a big reason why the club could win the race for his services.
Newcastle’s owners, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, are keen to achieve long-term success. They know this means signing top stars alongside young talent, such as Santos.
Players such as Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson are all 30 or over, and therefore cannot be relied upon forever. As such, it makes sense for Newcastle to bring in their successors now and get them used to life in the north east.
Youngster facing big decision
It will be intriguing to see where Santos ends up if Newcastle, Barca and Flamengo all come in for him.
Newcastle will be able to offer the best wages thanks to their wealthy owners. Plus, they are on the right path and could soon qualify for European competitions.
Barca, obviously, have the biggest pull due to their illustrious history and the ability to work under Xavi.
Despite these factors, it may be best for Santos to choose Flamengo as a next step. This would allow him to test himself in Brazil’s top flight, before he makes the switch to Europe.
Such a move would aid his development and potentially prevent him from flopping when linking up with Newcastle or Barca in the future.