Man Utd, Real Madrid fall behind Chelsea amid claims of mammoth £51m offer for ‘Brazilian Messi’

Palmeiras teenager Estevao Willian is a summer transfer target for Chelsea

An unnamed Premier League club – strongly rumoured to be Chelsea – has reportedly offered more than £50m for Palmeiras wonderkid Estevao Willian, amid claims Manchester United and Manchester City are also among those keen.

The Brazilian side are developing a habit of producing prodigious young talent of late. In late 2022 when Endrick was just 16, the forward agreed to join Real Madrid for £51m, with the now Brazil international set to join Los Blancos when he turns 18 in July.

Liverpool have reportedly been tracking 18-year-old midfielder Luis Guilherme, Manchester United have been linked with 19-year-old striker Thalys, and now Willian is the target of a host of top European clubs.

The 16-year-old winger, who was dubbed ‘Messinho’ when he was in Cruzeiro’s academy between 2017-21 due to his similarities to Lionel Messi’s playing style, made his professional debut for Palmeiras last December and since then he has made eight appearances for the club in all competitions.

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The teenager, who became the youngest Brazilian player to be sponsored by Nike at the age of just 10 in 2018, has reportedly set his sights on joining Barcelona once FIFA transfer regulations allow him to leave South America when he turns 18 in the summer of 2025.

However, Brazilian journalist Jorge Nicola claims that a certain Premier League club has offered €40m (£34.1m) plus $20m (£17m) in bonuses to acquire his services.

Chelsea ‘most likely’ candidate

The rising star, who is understood to have been scouted by Manchester United among others, reportedly has a release clause in the region of $60m (£51.2m), with Sport Witness relaying that Palmerias would need to accept that offer, even if it was not paid all at once.

Nicola adds that the Brazilian outfit are not keen on accepting this latest proposal as they believe the value of the 5ft 7in forward, whose contract expires in the summer of 2026, will continue to rise and are considering offering him a new, improved deal.

While TEAMtalk previously revealed that Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are keeping tabs on Willian, it is understood the Stamford Bridge outfit are the ‘most likely’ club to have put that staggered bid in for the teenager.

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However, Chelsea are reportedly in danger of breaching profit and sustainability rules, following more than £1bn worth of transfer deals since Todd Boehly took over in 2022.

Therefore, they may have to sell one of their players before signing others, with academy players going down as ‘pure profit’ on their accounts.

That could even be the case for captain Conor Gallagher, who is a top target for Premier League rivals Tottenham, along with fellow Cobham talents Armando Broja and Trevoh Chalobah.

Either way, a bidding war is likely to come the way of Willian and Palmeiras in the not so distant future.