Chelsea are exploring the possibility of buying other clubs around the world to turn their brand into a multi-club organisation, similar to Manchester City or Red Bull's model in football.
The Blues are known to have sounded out options in Portugal, Belgium and Brazil to emulate their rival’s success in both fostering and stockpiling young talent.
Santos are understood to have been contacted over a link to their famed academy, whose most famous graduates include Pele and Neymar, but the Brazilian giants were not interested.
Chelsea are now expected to re-group and look at smaller clubs in Brazil.
The approach will also signal the end of the 'loan army' used under Roman Abramovich to trade and balance the books to avoid Financial Fair Play (FFP) sanctions.
Chelsea released as many as 10 players for free this summer including the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Ross Barkley, Matt Miazga and Danny Drinkwater.
It is part of an overall vision for the club led by interim sporting director and co-owner Todd Boehly under the new ownership group with Clearlake Capital.