The South American Under-20 Championships recently took place in Peru and it has acted as a shop window for many of South America’s finest young talents to display their skills and ability.
Never a club to miss an opportunity to do some shopping, Chelsea head scout, Piet De Visser, was present throughout the tournament and was watching three players with the view to bringing them to Stamford Bridge as the reshaping of the Chelsea squad continues.
De Visser who scouted Ronaldo originally and brought him to PSV in the 90s has been tasked with scouring South America for potential stars by club owner Roman Abramovich.
Of the three players that the club watched the most well known is Neymar, a player that Chelsea and a string of other top clubs have been linked with previously. The forward, once described as ‘the next Pele’, (is there a Brazilian striker who hasn’t been described as that at some point) helped Brazil win the tournament by scoring 9 goals and becoming the competitions top goal scorer in the process.
There were reports that Chelsea had agreed a deal for the talented, yet sometimes difficult striker last Summer in a deal worth £25million only for the youngster to decide he wanted to extend his stay in Brazil. Now however De Visser confirmed his interest in the player telling the Brazilian press:
“I have watched some players and, yes, Neymar I came to follow more closely.”
The forward, who plays for Santos has scored an impressive 57 goals in 113 games for the club and has been linked to a string of top European sides in the past, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan.
Whoever moves for the player, will be getting an immense talent but also an extremely temperamental one, often likened to fellow Brazilian Robinho he may take some clever management to keep him happy. He possesses lightning pace however, a deadly finish and some extremely tricky feet meaning if a club can control him, he would be a huge asset.
The player who has said ideally he would like to play for Juventus, is said to have a £38million release clause in his contract but the Chelsea bid is thought to be closer to the £30million mark.
Whilst watching the tournament, De Visser also noticed fellow countrymen Fernando and Casemiro. Fernando who is 18 years old, is an attacking midfielder and plays for Gremio in Brazil and has impressed the Chelsea head scout during his time at the tournament there is suggestion that the player has a release clause in his contract that would allow him to move for just £8.3million.
Completing the triple swoop would be Sao Paulo’s Casemiro, the 18 year old is more of a defensive midfielder (that is by Brazilian standards) and is expected to become another graduate of the Brazil youth teams to step up into the first team before too long.
We all knew that Chelsea had an interest in Neymar and he could potentially be an extremely exciting signing for them as they look to reform their attacking unit, whether they can secure him however is a different matter. As well as their being strong interest from other clubs, the player has a somewhat confusing and problematic issue relating to third party ownership much like Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano when they first came to these shores.
The other players that caught the attention of the Chelsea delegation may be cheaper and easier to bring in and the fact that De Visser has such a good track record in scouting young players should fill Chelsea fans with confidence, but if they were to secure all three for a total fee thought to be around £50million, how much more would Roman be prepared to spend over the summer?
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