After captaining Brazil to the CONMEBOL U20 Championship, and even leading the tournament in goals scored, young Andrey Santos declared that he was now fully focusing on his Chelsea career, which was supposed to involve him getting integrated into our first-team straight away. Unfortunately, he might have to wait a bit longer before he (and we) can in fact do that.
The highly promising 18-year-old midfielder doesn’t automatically qualify for a UK work permit. Chelsea were set to apply for a “special talent” exemption, but that appeal has been either rejected (as per the Daily Mail) or not even applied for in the end (as per The Athletic). Regardless of the exact reason, there’s been a possible change of plans, with Graham Potter admitting in yesterday’s press conference that “we’re looking at what the options are for him”.
You need 15 points on the GBE criteria to get a work permit. Playing >90% of available Band 1 continental competition (UCL, Libertadores) gets you 10 points.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) February 17, 2023
Serie A is a Band 3 league with 8 points maximum on offer for playing time there too. Lots of ways for him to get there.
The likeliest option, as rumored before, is a loan back to Brazil, ideally to a top flight team also involved in the Copa Libertadores, to ensure that he can collect as many points as possible towards a future work permit. Palmeiras were one of the teams linked already, and the defending Série A champions would certainly fit that bill.
A deal may already be in the works in fact, and mostly agreed, even, as reported by Fabrizio Romano. The Brazilian season runs spring-to-fall and is about to start (well, the Copa anyway, and the state championships), but we would have the option to break it at the midway point.
Palmeiras are closing in on deal to sign Andrey Santos on loan from Chelsea, here we go! Verbal agreement as work permit has not been conceded #CFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 18, 2023
❗️Understand loan deal will be until December but Chelsea have €1.5m re-call clause in June.
Andrey will travel in 48/56h. pic.twitter.com/lsDRDVgYcZ