Chelsea are pushing hard to try and strike a deal for Palmeiras winger Estevao ahead of rival suitors Barcelona, 90min understands.
16-year-old Estevao is widely hailed as one of the best talents in South America and scouts from a number of the world’s top clubs have followed his performances at youth level with both Palmeiras and Brazil.
The South American market is one Chelsea are keen to explore. The Blues signed midfielder Andrey Santos in January 2023 and winger Angelo last summer, while 16-year-old Kendry Paez has agreed a deal to move to Stamford Bridge in 2025.
Sources close to the situation have told 90min that Chelsea hold serious interest in adding Estevao to their group of young talents and are searching for an agreement over a transfer fee with Palmeiras, who are demanding his release clause of €60m (£51.6m) be paid in full.
Chelsea’s preference would be to avoid triggering the clause, which requires a full payment up front, and instead strike a deal which would allow them to pay in instalments and spread the total cost over a number of years. However, activating the clause has not been ruled out either.
While Chelsea are keen to get a deal done soon, Blues officials will not rush a final decision because there is a confidence that Barcelona, the main rivals for Estevao’s signature, are not able to compete financially at this point or move quickly to get him.
“Fair Play affects many teams, but we do not have the capacity to sign new players,” Barca sporting director Deco said after the Supercopa de Espana final defeat to Real Madrid. “This is the reality.”
The main stumbling block for Chelsea, however, is Estevao’s public preference to join Barcelona. The teenager has spoken openly about his desire to move to Catalonia and Chelsea are well aware of his feelings.
Chelsea are trying to secure a commitment from Estevao as soon as possible, before Barcelona have the chance to raise the money and firmly enter the race for his signature. Estevao is unable to move to Europe until the summer of 2025 and could theoretically delay a decision on his next club until then, but Chelsea are hoping to find an agreement sooner rather than later.