Joelson Fernandes is one of the most exciting youngsters to come out of Sporting CP’s academy, perhaps the most exciting since Cristiano Ronaldo, with the obvious comparison being made already.
Arsenal have been pursuing the 17-year-old for the past few weeks, but according to A Bola, Chelsea and Manchester City have entered the race as well. According to the report, Sporting have rejected Arsenal’s second bid of €32m — their first bid was worth €20m — and are demanding the full €45m release clause. They have also been trying to extend the youngster’s contract, which expires in 2022.
Joelson, usually a left winger, made his top flight debut last month, and featured in 4 of Sporting’s last 6 matches (all from the bench) in the Primeira Liga’s version of Project Restart. His creativity, technique, and dribbling skills have earned him huge plaudits and made a host of big clubs take notice, a list which also includes the likes of Barcelona and Juventus.
The best academy players in World's biggest clubs series!— Football Talent Scout - Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) April 24, 2020
Sporting CP - Joelson Fernandes (17)
Another superb winger produced in Alcochete which raised such great footballers like Figo, Simāo, Quaresma, Ronaldo & Nani. At the age of 17, he is already a star of Sporting U-23. pic.twitter.com/Fv5AMffzrY
While Arsenal are said to be in the driver’s seat, Chelsea and City have made inquiries and are expected to hold further talks with a view towards a possible deal.
That said, it does seem quite unlikely that Chelsea would spend an exorbitant amount on a youth prospect, however promising he might be. We have a plethora of young attacking options in the team already, with plenty more coming up in our own Academy.
On a possibly related note, the Chelsea links to Joelson may or may not have something to do with Blues youngster Juan Familia-Castillo, 20, recently being offered to Sporting CP. After getting heavily linked with Juventus, Castillo up spending last season back at Ajax, who were expected to make that temporary move a a permanent one at some point. But they did not, despite a starring role for their U21 team at left back, so Castillo’s back on the market once again.