While it is a rule that any young prospect coming out of Brazil must be referred to as a wonderkid or a gem or a future Ballon d’Or winner, young Thiago Maia Alencar, by all accounts, is one truly promising teenager.
If you’re an avid FIFA or FM player, you probably know his virtual (defensive) midfield-self already. Obviously that means very little in the real world, but he’s been anchoring Santos’s midfield for two seasons now and is set to star for Brazil at the Rio Olympics starting in a few days.
Kia Joorabchian (lembra-se dele?) está no Brasil para contratar um jogador da seleção olímpica para o Chelsea https://t.co/J8Seuf7b7D— Jorge Nicola (@jorgenicola) August 1, 2016
He does have a long-term contract with Santos (through 2019), but the ever vigilant Kia Joorabchian is poking around and gauging interest for a potential R$66m bid (£15m). In what is almost a unique situation for Brazilian football, 100 per cent of Thiago Maia’s economic rights are owned by Santos, though there is a promise that 30 per cent of any transfer fee would go directly to the player — so in this case, £10m would go to the club and £5m to the player.
According to journalist Jorge Nicola’s report — he’s supposedly quite well connected in Brazil, especially when it comes to clubs in São Paulo state — Chelsea are due to sit down with the 19-year-old’s representatives and family in the coming days to try to work out a deal. That’s assuming we can convince Santos to sell, which may not be too easy.
With Chelsea’s other potential deal with Santos petering out (Gabigol looks likely to sign with Juventus instead, if he is to move at all), perhaps we can get this one done instead. Midfield reinforcements, especially at a reasonable price, would be far more welcome anyway, especially if Nemanja Matic or Oscar were to leave.