The January transfer window has opened in the new year and teams are already making transfer plans to strengthen their respective sides. Chelsea were extremely busy last summer as the new owners put out a statement by splashing over 300 million pounds on new arrivals with the likes of Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang etc. all joining the West London club.
Since then, the Blues have had major restructuring in the club hierarchy as club co-owner Todd Boehly wants the club to have a strong foundation in the form of designated roles for Directors and a more efficient way of signing players and scouting. Christopher Vivell was recently unveiled as the Technical Director of the Blues joining a new-look backroom staff of Joe Shields, Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley.
The former RB Leipzig Technical Director Vivell has already hit the ground running and has started working on numerous deals for the January transfer window. According to Fabrizio Romano, ‘Chelsea have completed the signing of Andrey Santos with the documents signed and sealed on both the player and club side with Brazilian outfit Vasco Da Gama in a deal for a 12.5 million euros fixed fee.’
Chelsea have completed the signing of Andrey Santos, documents are signed and sealed on both player and club side with Vasco. 🔵🇧🇷 #CFC
📸 Here’s Andrey is in London with his family, time for the medical tests and official statement.
Chelsea will pay €12.5m fixed fee. pic.twitter.com/qF0AW978JQ
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 1, 2023
The Brazilian market has been very busy in recent years as European clubs have invested heavily in young talents from South American countries. Real Madrid have been a prime example as the Galacticos have enjoyed major success with the players they have signed from Brazil like Vinicius. Jr, Rodrygo and their recent acquisition of Endrick who is touted as the “next big thing” to emerge from Brazil.
Andrey Santos will be the first young talent poached by Chelsea who also has plenty of interest from rival clubs and the Blues have got the deal over the line to sign the wonderkid who has received plenty of plaudits due to his impressive performances for second-division side Vasco Da Gama. Brazilian national team legend Juninho spoke very highly about the teenager and is convinced that the sky is the limit for Santos.
In a recent media interaction he said, “I’ve never seen a player, at 18, as ready as he is. Physically, he’s a beast, technically he’s on a high level. He’s not going to be better than me, he’s going to be much better than me.”
Juninho Pernambucano on Chelsea’s new signing Andrey Santos: “I’ve never seen a player, at 18, as ready as he is”, he said in July. 🇧🇷 #CFC
“Physically, he’s a beast, technically he’s on a high level. He’s not going to be better than me, he’s going to be much better than me”. pic.twitter.com/p02Nhsw3k0
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 1, 2023
Who is Andrey Santos?
Andrey Santos is an 18-year-old footballer for the Brazilian club Vasco da Gama. He plays as a central midfielder for the club and is well-regarded in his native for his style of play. In his first season, he made 33 appearances for Vasco scoring 8 times. In February 2021, he made his club debut and has also represented Brazil’s U20 squad once. He has been crucial in Vasco’s promotion to the top flight of Brazilian football this season.
What makes Santos such a highly-rated teenager?
Chelsea are keen on signing Andrey Santos because they see him as a long-term possible replacement for the current ageing midfield and a great addition to the youth setup. The midfielder was a huge threat in the final third of the pitch for Vasco in his rookie season, scoring goals and creating chances. His vision, creative efficiency, and ability to choose a variety of passes make him a crafty player to have in the starting XI. The Brazilian teenager has also demonstrated defensive solidity while playing for Vasco and isn’t shy of displaying his physical prowess when going into challenges to win the ball.
At 5’9, his size makes him a formidable defensive player in the middle of the park. Santos has been assigned the defensive midfielder position at Vasco and the no. 6 position even though requires defensive discipline, suits Santos’ playing style. His athleticism helps him cover the majority of the ground playing as a midfielder and dictating play from the base of the midfield. His dribbling and ability to break through the opposition press also help him play further up front as a box-to-box no.8 which complements his late runs into the box to score and gives him greater freedom in the final third.
Chelsea’s abundance of youth talents to fix their ageing midfield
Santos will join the likes of Carney Chukwuemeka, Lewis Hall, Harvey Vale and Conor Gallagher as future midfield options for the club. N’golo Kante (who will turn 32 years old in March) and Jorginho (31 years old) are both free agents this summer window as the duo have just 6 months left on their contracts. The club are in negotiations with the duo for extensions though they will need replacing sometime in the near future. The Chelsea recruitment particularly in the last two transfer windows has provided the right solution to this problem as there is an abundance of talent in the pipeline for the Blues to count on promotion to the first team.
Gallagher and Chukwuemeka are already part of the first team setup this season and are likely to get more game time next season once the midfield issue is resolved. The signing of Santos further adds quality and fresh talent to the side with Harvey Vale and Lewis Hall both also impressing for the U-21 side and training with the first team.
Chelsea faithful will be ecstatic as the owners are aligning all transfer activities to their long-term vision of ‘creating a world-class and competitive team with players aged under 25 years old’. The signing of Andrey Santos is just the beginning of the West London side’s business in the Brazilian market as they join their European competitors in signing talents for bargain prices for the long term.