Arsenal set to compete with Chelsea for Brazilian wonderkid 'Messinho' after bid made

Palmeiras' forward Estevao Willian celebrates after scoring a goal during the Copa Libertadores group stage first leg football match between Brazil's Palmeiras and Uruguay's Liverpool at the Allianz Parque stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 11, 2024.
Palmeiras' striker Estevao Willian could find himself as the subject of a bidding war between rivals Arsenal and Chelsea this summer as the two Premier League giants hold interest in the star. -Credit:Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea's attempts to sign Brazilian wonderkid Estevao Willian this summer could be thwarted by Arsenal, who have reportedly tried to hijack talks with Palmeiras to try and bring the starlet to North London instead.

The 17-year-old, who has been dubbed 'Messinho', has quickly established himself in manager Abel Ferreira’s first team, having made 13 appearances and scoring three goals in all competitions so far this season, making him the second youngest scorer in Palmeiras history.

Estevao's potential has clearly caught the eye of some of European football's biggest names, including Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and now Premier League teams are chomping at the bit to try and pen him down to a deal. Mauricio Pochettino's Blues are already said to have submitted a £26m bid to the Brazilian Serie A side for the youngster who could follow in the footsteps of compatriot Andrey Santos in making the move to Stamford Bridge, as well as Ecuadorian midfielder Kendry Paez, who will arrive at Chelsea next season.

Since Todd Boehly's arrival at Stamford Bridge almost two years ago, there's been a clear divide between supporters around the Clearlake 'project' of buying up superstar young talents and handing them six, seven, eight-year contracts, which has seen mixed results so far this season. Some, like Cole Palmer, look to have been perfect signings, while others, like Romeo Lavia, who is yet to play more than 35 minutes for the Blues this season due to injury, have not looked like good investments for the future.

The signing of the 17-year-old winger might, however, add to that division between ownership and supporters, with many in the media and in the club's fanbase calling for more investment in experienced stars who can nurture those younger players in the squad, especially with the departure of 39-year-old Thiago Silva at the end of this season.

However, the Blues are not the only side in London to have their eye on him, as Mikel Arteta's side are believed to hold significant interest in the winger, so much so in fact that they're already having discussions around a potential move to the Emirates Stadium, according to Brazilian outlet UOL.

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The Gunners are leading the battle against reigning champions Manchester City for their first Premier League title in 20 years and could use their recent success as a major pulling factor to bring young talents for the future like Estevao, whose contract at Allianz Parque runs out in the summer of 2026.

It wouldn't be the first time Arsenal have invested in young Brazilian stars, with the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Jesus having made significant impacts since arriving in north London on top of Gabriel Martinelli, who followed a similar path to the one Estevao would take if he were to land at the Emirates.

Having arrived from Brazilian Serie B side Ituano in 2019 as an 18-year-old, Martinelli has established himself as a threat to any team in the Premier League, but it now remains to be seen whether Arsenal would be willing to activate the rumoured £38m [€45m] release clause in the star's current contract to secure his services.