Chelsea’s Andrey Santos wins South American U20 Championship – but can he join the Blues yet?

Brazilian teenager Andrey Santos has proven why Chelsea went out of their way to sign the young star after a fantastic South American U20 tournament. However, will he actually be playing for the London side anytime soon?

The dynamic midfielder has been lights-out during the tournament in Colombia. In the championship’s final game, where Brazil needed a win to become champions, Santos notched a late goal to put his side 1-0 up against Uruguay.

The U20 Selecao side then doubled their advantage in added time to seal a 2-0 win – and the trophy.

This crucial goal capped off a stunning run of games from Andrey Santos. He finished the 2023 South American U20 Championship as the joint-top scorer, with six goals.  

Firstly, Santos opened the tournament by scoring in three consecutive matches. Brazil’s captain fired his side to wins over Peru and Argentina, plus a draw with Colombia.

Then, in the decisive second group stage, the Chelsea youngster stepped up to the plate once more. He found the net during a 3-1 win over Ecuador, before getting a goal and assist against Venezuela.

Finally, Andrey Santos showcased his leadership qualities with a vital strike in their final game against Uruguay on Sunday.

Santos’ brilliant tournament in South America is only positive news for Chelsea fans and personnel alike. So, Blues faithful must be looking forward to seeing the youngster tear up the Premier League, right?

Well, there could be a bit of a delay before we see Andrey Santos take to the pitch at Stamford Bridge…

Andrey Santos: Chelsea “confident” they can resolve work permit issues

During the January transfer window, the Blues signed Santos from Brazilian side Vasco da Gama for £18 million. Chelsea were very keen on him following a stellar showing for Vasco in Brazil’s second division in 2022.

However, that is where the problem lies; Santos played in the second tier in South America. This, according to Globo, means that the midfielder has not earned sufficient “points” to qualify for a UK work permit.

As a result, the Daily Mail reported that Chelsea applied for an exceptional talent visa.

But Santos’ awesome displays on the (U20) international stage could help with the Blues’ appeal for the visa. The club is, therefore, increasingly confident that they can secure that crucial work permit.

In addition, per GiveMeSport, Graham Potter has “plans” for the Brazilian to be a factor for Chelsea in 2022/23.

Currently, the Blues are trying to work their way back to the top four spots. They are stuck in ninth place, despite their heavy spending. If he is allowed the visa, maybe Andrey Santos can provide a further energy boost in the Chelsea engine room.

For now, though, he is still stuck and unable to play in England. If the club cannot sort out a work permit this season, Santos could remain in South America on loan. For example, Vasco, now in Brasileiro Serie A, would happily take their academy graduate back.

Meanwhile, a number of teams competing in the Copa Libertadores are interested in taking on Santos.

Featured image credit: Getty