A Brazilian midfield “monster” looks destined for a move to the Premier League, and TEAMtalk has learned of Newcastle’s fears amid a transfer tussle with Chelsea.
Both Newcastle and Chelsea have made a point of investing in youth since their respective takeovers. The Blues splashed out over £40m on three teenage talents last summer – Gabriel Slonina, Cesare Casadei and Carney Chukwuemeka.
The Magpies, meanwhile, signed Australian wonderkid, Garang Kuol. The 18-year-old became the youngest player to earn a senior Australia cap since Harry Kewell back in September. He later turned out for the Socceroos in Qatar.
Vasco da Gama’s Andrey Santos, 18, is the man in question, and was recently labelled a “monster” by Brazilian set piece specialist, Juninho Pernambucano.
“Physically, (Santos) is a monster,” said Lyon legend Juninho earlier in 2022. Juninho played for Santos’ club Vasco da Gama between 1995-2001, before re-joining for further stints in 2011 and 2013.
“Without the ball, his participation in the game is total,” continued Juninho. “I want to see his GPS, because he doesn’t stop! And technically, he’s way above the others.
“He’s not going to be better than me, he’s going to be much better than me! He is a much more complete player. At 18, I didn’t play half as much as he does. I’m not ashamed to say that.”
Chelsea claim rubbished
The Evening Standard previously claimed Chelsea were closing in on a January swoop for the central midfielder. His reported valuation is €15m (approx. £12.5m).
However, other outlets poured cold water on those claims, insisting the race very much remains open. Indeed, Barcelona have also been linked, as have Real Madrid more recently.
Addressing the speculation, Vasco chief, Paulo Bracks, delivered a public plea in the hopes Santos will remain in situ beyond the winter window.
Santos scored eight times for Vasco in the Brazilian second tier last season. His exploits helped the club earn promotion to the top flight, and losing their star midfielder now would be a bitter blow.
“The whole world wants Andrey,” said Bracks (via ESPN Brazil). “But he’s from Vasco, he has a contract with us, a strong contract.
“He should go to a South American Under-20 championships [for Brazil], and I can’t guarantee what will happen to him.
“[I hope he] stays with us, this year, in this Serie A project of ours, but he is an athlete who, on the market shelf, is being very targeted.”
Now, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, insider Graeme Bailey has confirmed Chelsea have indeed “made offers” for Santos.
Andrey Santos coming to England?
Bailey also stressed a deal to England – not Spain – looks the most likely, and outlined Newcastle’s fears they’ll be pipped at the post.
“Andrey Santos is a player that Newcastle have been following for a long time,” said Bailey.
“They love the player, and he ticks all the boxes for the type of player they want to bring in. Young, talented and committed.
“Newcastle have been holding talks with Vasco da Gama, but a deal has not been finalised and they hoped it would be done by now but as they fear it has allowed others to come in.
“Chelsea and Barcelona have been showing interest and the former are very keen, and have made offers.
“It seems a move to England is very much on the cards but we don’t know who is getting him – both Chelsea and Newcastle have confidence in getting the deal done.”