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Chelsea looking to steal ahead of Barcelona, others in Estevão ‘Messinho’ Willian transfer battle — report

Won’t hurt to try

Ecuador v Brazil - Round 16: FIFA U-17 World Cup Photo by Masashi Hara - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Earlier this weekend, Goal Brazil made a claim that Chelsea had opened talks with Palmeiras over the (future) transfer of youngster Estevão Willian. No relation to Willian. No relation to Lionel Messi either, despite a “Messinho” nickname. He just wants to be known as himself, Estevão.

The report claims that we’re talking about a €40m deal, which would pay half up front and then the rest based on conditional and performance-based incentives. Since Estevão is just 16, we’re looking at two years at the very least for those additional incentives to kick in.

So yeah, this kid’s the latest in the line of Rodrygos and Vini Juniors and Endricks and Kendry Páezes — South American teenagers getting snapped up by big clubs in Europe for impressive sums well before they are legally allowed to make the move. How long will FIFA continue to allow this obvious and simple loophole around their rules meant to protect young players around the world?

In any case, it would be quite a surprise if Chelsea were to make any actual headway in these supposed talks. PSG reportedly already tried a €50m bid, which Palmeiras rejected. Arsenal are also interested. And Estevão seems quite set on Barcelona regardless. Goal’s report claim his release clause is €45m, though earlier a €60m number was bandied about.

Whoever ends up signing Estevão will be signing a player for the relatively distant future, not the right here and now. He won’t be making any team better right away. And if we presume to have limited resource in the upcoming transfer windows, what we need now is immediate help.

All that said, you can never have too much talent in the pipeline.

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