New Chelsea signing given 'Lionel Messi advice' after £48m transfer

New Chelsea forward Estevao Willian
-Credit: (Image: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

Gilberto Silva doesn't think new Chelsea signing Estevao Willian should be compared to Lionel Messi after similarities were drawn between the South American duo.

Estevao have agreed to sign the 17-year-old from Palmeiras, paying €34 million (£28.7m) up front plus a further €23m (£19.4m) in add-ons. Estevao will make the move to Stamford Bridge when he is 18 next year. Despite only making his professional debut back in December, Estevao has become a shining light of Brazilian football in recent months, scoring three goals and providing two assists in 11 Serie A matches this season.

That has seen Estevao likened to Argentine superstar Messi, due to his quick, unpredictable, technically gifted style. Like Messi, Estevao is a left footed right winger but can play anywhere across the front. Despite this, ex-Arsenal and Brazil midfielder Gilberto fears it is "too much pressure" to compare Estevao to Messi.

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When asked if it is fair to compare Estevao to Messi, Gilberto said: "Since Estevao Willian was very young, people started to compare him to Messi, calling him a little Messi. But I think it's too much pressure.

"The good thing is that he's very low profile and he doesn't call himself that, he just enjoys football, just doing what he has to. He’s not bothered about what people are saying about him, but making that comparison. It's too early. Let him be Estevao. Be Estevao and play for Palmeiras and soon he'll play for Chelsea."

Estevao is set to join Chelsea - a club going through a number of changes to the playing squad and behind-the-scenes with owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital not yet settled. And Gilberto insists the lack of stability at the Blues could hamper his career.

He added: "The lack of stability at Chelsea could make things tricky for Estevao Willian, I just hope that for his sake they can find stability because for players it's so important to have that.

"I was honestly expecting Mauricio Pochettino to stay for another season, I was surprised. But they know what they’re doing. I just hope the changes don’t impact the players."

Gilberto Silva was speaking exclusively as part of bet365’s Copa America coverage.