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Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United monitoring Santos defender Kaiky — report

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Young talent

Santos v Deportivo Lara - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2021 Photo by Guilherme Dionizio - Pool/Getty Images

Thanks to improved scouting systems plus a pandemic that has only weakened Brazil’s national currency (and the economy in general), the probability of talented young footballers staying in the country beyond age 18 has only gotten smaller. Case in point: Fluminense’s Kayky, a supremely talented 17-year-old, who will be joining Manchester City in January 2022.

And that will likely be the case for another Kaiky, of the same age incidentally but with an ‘i’ instead of a ‘y’, who currently plays as a centre back for Santos. According to a report from Gazeta Esportiva, he’s already piqued the interest of several big clubs in Europe, from Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United to Juventus and Ajax, all of whom have been monitoring the young defender’s first steps as a professional.

And some of those steps have been quite noteworthy, such as the match against Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores a couple days ago, where he marked a more than twice his age but still very dangerous Carlos Tévez out of the game. And this was not the first time Kaiky has shown himself as a (positive) outlier, with similar performances at the state championship level as well.

While Santos are not as strong as Flamengo and Palmeiras, the two last Copa Libertadores champions, they are also not doing as badly in terms of finances. That makes it easier for them to just sit on the €70m release clause included in the defender’s contract, which surely none of the teams would pay but is a strong starting point for negotiations.

While it is likely that Kaiky will eventually justify a high transfer fee, it might take him a while to truly get there. Chelsea’s homegrown resources, such as Andreas Christensen or Fikayo Tomori or Marc Guehi, should show that we probably don’t need to make such moves in the market anyway.