Who is Estevao Willian? Chelsea launch bid for wonderkid named 'Messinho' amid Arsenal interest

Estevao Willian
Estevao Willian is wanted by a host of clubs -Credit:NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea have reportedly submitted a £26million (€30m) bid for Palmeiras wonder kid Estevao Willian amid reported interest from Arsenal.

The Blues have tracked the 17-year-old's progress for some time, with him being regarded as one of the best youngsters in South America. According to journalist Thiago Fernandes, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, have all made enquiries over the winger.

However, it is Chelsea who have bid for his services, according to Brazilian outlet UOL. The bid is said to be of £26m (€30m), plus £21m (€25m) in add-ons. They also add that previous bids were turned down by the Brazilian team.

Estevao, similarly to teammate Endrick, who will join Real Madrid this summer, would only be allowed to leave Palmeiras after turning 18.

With that said, has taken a look at the highly-rated youth player.

Who is Estevao Willian?

Estêvão Willian Almeida de Oliveira Gonçalves, also known as Estevao or Estevao Willian, is a 17-year-old winger born in Franca, Brazil. He began his career with two-time Copa Libertadores winners Cruzeiro before joining Palmeiras in 2021.

It has been reported that just one year after joining the Cruzeiro youth academy he became the youngest-ever Brazilian to sign as a sponsored athlete with sports brand, Nike. Due to his playing similarities with eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, Estevao originally used the nickname 'Messinho' as a homage to the Argentine.

Estevao is predominantly a right-winger but has the ability to play either side, as well as in the middle. The youngster has been praised for his flair and dribbling ability and made his senior debut for Palmeiras at 16 years and seven months against Cruzeiro in December 2023.

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He has made 20 appearances for Verdao in the Copinha, U20 Libertadores and Brasileiro under-20s finals. Estevao has two years remaining on his contract and it has been said that he has a £51m release clause in his deal.

Estevao has featured in all the opening four Brasileiro Serie A games, starting in two of those.

What has been reported?

According to 90min, Mauricio Pochettino's side are "pushing hard" to try and sign the Brazilian prospect. Barcelona are also credited with interest. The outlet adds that the Blues have a serious interest in adding Estevao to their group of young stars after signing Andrey Santos and Angelo with Kendry Paez set to join next year.

The Brazilian club are demanding for his release clause to be paid in full. While it is said that Chelsea are reluctant to do this, it has not been ruled out, according to the report.

What has Estevao said about his future?

Despite being in the infancy of his career, Estevao has been open about his dream club. As quoted by SportBible, he namechecked Barcelona as a team he watched growing up.

"[My dream is] to play for Barcelona, which is one of the best clubs in the world," he said. "I was born watching Neymar, Messi and Suarez play for Barcelona, and that's the dream I have.

"I watch almost every Barca match. I'm a fan of the club. I have a great admiration for the players who play there, and I hope to be there too. Yes, it would be a dream come true."

Back in December, he was asked how he was feeling over the transfer interest. He said: "My head is well focussed on Palmeiras. I want to have a beautiful journey here, I want to do my best and build my story. And then, if it is a wish of God, I hope to play abroad."