Next Chelsea transfer ace sends Mauricio Pochettino clear message and breaks silence on £25m move

Palmeiras attacker Estevao Willian celebrates
Estevao Willian has remained grounded despite links to Chelsea -Credit:NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea transfer target Estevao Willian has shown the sort of maturity that will make him an even more appealing prospect after reports that a deal has been agreed to take him to Stamford Bridge. The 17-year-old, who made his senior debut last season, is seen as one of the top talents in Brazil, but wouldn't be the first to earn this sort of tag when linked with a move to SW6.

He has been playing alongside Real Madrid-bound teenager Endrick, who scored against England at Wembley earlier this year, in his first full season and only days ago he was also pitted against Ecuadorian wonderkid Kendry Paez, who will join Chelsea in 2025 upon turning 18.

The Blues had been in the mix for Endrick as well before he agreed to move to Spain over the winter. Like other players making the move from South America, he will have to wait until becoming part of the senior squad.

It follows a continuation of youth recruitment at Stamford Bridge under Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital that has seen Angelo Gabriel, Andrey Santos, and Deivid Washington all signed in the past 18 months. Many have questioned the method though with first-team struggles seeing Chelsea stranded in mid-table for much of the past two years since the ownership change.

Chelsea currently have the youngest squad in the Premier League and have, at times, lacked discipline under Mauricio Pochettino. Due to a combination of factors - which the manager tends to label 'the circumstances' - his side has taken eight months to gel, and even then it comes off the back of what Boehly termed "two-and-a-half games" in recent weeks.

Often the maturity problems - including record accumulations of bookings as well as blowing leads, struggling after half-time, performing under pressure, and raising the levels against weaker sides - many can be put down to the age and experience of the squad. Whether committing what is reported to be another £25million in transfer fees for a player with so much developing still to do is a good idea, divides opinion.

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Chelsea have already paid out vast sums of money towards teenagers that are so far unable to help the first team. Even split over lengthy contracts the accumulation of fees only adds to the financial obstacles that face the club.

It is said that Estevao will have performance-based add-ons in his deal which could raise the price significantly. Chelsea will argue that, like with Mykhailo Mudryk and some of their incentivised contracts, if players meet the criteria to trigger extra money being spent, it will be worth it.

Estevao is now set to become one of their latest mini-projects as a player, embarking on a journey of growth that many hope will see him flourish and become one of the best players around. The same is certainly true of others that the club have signed and pledged their loyalties too, but Estevao's recent comments will give them even more reason for optimism.

Keeping his feet firmly on the floor despite all the attention, he said, “Speculations? Chelsea? My head today is 100% focused on Palmeiras. I don’t think of these things, they’re secondary. I think of helping Palmeiras and trying my hardest to bring them glory.”

A mature response for a player that is at the centre of plenty of attention. For Chelsea it's a good sign that should this deal all be agreed, they'd be signing a strong character as well as an impressive player.

Given that he will be spending another season at the club it is certainly a smart piece of PR from the player. It is the sort of respect and gesture that means a lot in football even if it's not always seen.

For differing reasons this is an aspect that Pochettino has so far been unable to channel and harness in some of his most raw players. Mudryk specifically stands out as someone with talent to burn but has also so-far been unable to marry that up with consistency and an on-field bond with his teammates.

There is a long way to go for Estevao but the signs are looking good in more ways than one.