Chelsea is rapidly becoming known as one of the biggest spenders and most active football clubs where the transfer market is concerned. This season alone, they have recruited players such as Wesley Fofana, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Marc Cucurella and Benoit Badiashile for big fees, and there are plenty more we could list. However, one of their lower-priced deals saw Andrey Santos arrive for around £12 million.
While many have chosen to describe Chelsea’s approach in the transfer market as scattergun and a bit all over the place, you can’t deny that they’ve focused on bringing two things in the main – high-quality talent and young players who have huge potential. Santos, aged eighteen, certainly fits the latter and was being monitored by all of Europe’s top clubs before Chelsea stepped in and paid the money required to secure his signature for the next seven years.
You could argue that in the short term, the midfielder, who can play in that all-important defensive role, isn’t going to have a hugely significant impact in helping Chelsea get back to the levels expected of them. So, on the back of Santos arriving, you won’t necessarily see the relevant EPL football betting markets change drastically as a result. However, that doesn’t mean that those who are ready to go in the first team can’t benefit Chelsea from the get-go and that Santos won’t become a key player for them in the coming years.
In terms of the type of player he is, Santos is a midfielder who plays in the middle of the park and can also sit deeper and screen in front of the defence. Therefore, if Graham Potter wanted to play with a double pivot, the Brazilian can be an option in one of the two roles. And, if Potter opted to go with a three-man midfield, Santos can also slot in there too. So, there’s that versatility there; however, Chelsea intends to set up their midfield.
What’s immediately noticeable about Santos is his height. He stands at around 5’9, which means he’s not a huge defensive midfielder who you’re going to expect to see the use of his physical traits to get the better of his opponents. So, instead, you expect him to be more mobile and get around the park while being cuter in his approach of breaking up play and getting Chelsea back on the ball and on the front foot as quickly as possible.
Another interesting angle to look at Santos’ arrival from is that it’s been rumoured for a while that N’golo Kante could depart Stamford Bridge in the summer when his contract expires. Kante has had injury problems hamper him over the last couple of seasons and with the player now thirty-one years old, it shows that Potter and the Chelsea hierarchy want to rejuvenate the squad with younger players and fresh energy.
At eighteen years old, nineteen in May, it’s not surprising that up to press, Santos doesn’t necessarily have a boatload of first-team experience. He’s played at senior level for former club Vasco da Gama nearly forty times, scoring eight goals across those appearances. He’s also a player who has experience via the Brazil youth system too, which will stand him in good stead. But it remains to be seen what the initial plan for Santos is in the short term and whether Potter will begin building up his senior experience at Chelsea or whether they will look to potentially loan him out or play him in the 21s for now.
Either way, you can almost guarantee in the next several years that, all the young talent Chelsea have scooped up, including Santos, will come to the fore, thrive, and make them the envy of many clubs in the Premier League and beyond. And it could even see them become the dominant force in England’s top flight, too, while other teams play catch up. The use of long-term deals is also smart because it not only means talent is locked in place for five years, six years, and more in some cases. But the spending can be spread over the course of contracts, easing the immediate financial burden.