After helping to promote Vasco da Gama to the Brazilian top division last season, young Andrey Santos is now impressing for Brazil at the U20 CONMEBOL Championship, playing against some of the best prospects in South America. He has been great at defending, connecting defence to attack, and even getting a few goals (three in four in fact), earning plenty of plaudits and heightening expectations for his Chelsea future.
And we are hoping to kickstart that future by solving the work permit issues that he’s facing in the meantime, as, according to UOL, we are hoping to integrate the 18-year-old into the first-team right after the tournament.
Santos does not automatically pass the points-based requirements for a work permit despite playing over 80 per cent of available minutes at Vasco, since those senior appearances have come “only” in the Brazilian second division. But Chelsea can apply for an exemption if we can show convincing “evidence that the Youth Player shows significant potential and is of sufficient quality to enhance the development of the game in England”. (Ed.note: Do we show them some YouTube highlights?)
That said, even if we do get the work permit, the real question will be whether adding him to the first-team right away is the best move. It would be a waste to have him just sit on the bench and play a few U23 matches here and there.