sao paulo v palmeiras brasileirao 2024
| | |

Estevao Willian: The Brazilian wonderkid ready to make his name at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have won the race to sign highly-rated Palmeiras winger Estevao Willian. The London club beat out interest from Barcelona to secure the prodigy’s signature. They will pay an initial £29.5 million for the 17-year-old, which could rise to £51.4 million over time with various performance-related add-ons.

Estevao has completed his medical and is set to put pen to paper on a seven-year contract at Stamford Bridge. He will officially join the Blues in the summer of 2025, when he turns 18, which will give him time to continue to develop his game playing in Brazil before facing the big step up in Premier League football.

Estevao: The Story So Far:

It has been a meteoric rise for Estevao, who has been attracting attention from Europe’s elite clubs with his performances since breaking into the Palmeiras side at 16. He is now a regular starter in a talented attack alongside Luis Guilherme and Endrick who have sealed their own moves to West Ham and Real Madrid, respectively.

This move shows the calibre of young players that are breaking into the Palmeiras team, and Estevao is no different, appearing eleven times for the Alviverde and scoring once.

Estevao Willian was born on April 24th, 2004 in Franca, Brazil. He joined Cruzeiro’s youth academy in 2017. He made an immediate impression with his performances at this early age, so much so that he signed a sponsorship deal with Nike the following year at the age of 10. It was in Cruzeiro that he picked up the nickname ‘Messinho’, which is a tribute to the similarities in his game to his idol Lionel Messi. A moniker, which won’t have helped in dampening the expectations of the youngster.

It didn’t affect his progress, though, as he continued to flourish in the Cruzeiro academy, earning a move to Palmeiras in 2021. Estevao thrived in the youth teams at his new club, including winning the Campeonato Brasilieiro Sub-17. They beat Sao Paulo 3-0 in the final, with Estevao scoring a hat-trick, truly announcing himself in Brazilian football and showing that he was ready for the challenge of senior football.

Just a matter of weeks later, in December 2023, Estevao made his professional senior debut for Palmeiras at the age of 16. He has been a mainstay in the Palmeiras team ever since, making 11 appearances and scoring his first goal along the way in a Copa Libertadores group match win against Liverpool.

Palmeiras manager Abel Ferreira has been hugely impressed with Estevao since his arrival into the senior team. When asked about him back in May, Ferreira said, “trust me, this boy is something different. Estevao is just something I’ve never seen in my career”. These comments show why Estevao has become a regular starter for Brazil’s defending champions at just 17.

See also  Jarrell Quansah & EURO 2024: The Case for Liverpool's Imperious "Mini VVD"

The International Stage:

His talent hasn’t gone unnoticed on the international stage, as he was a pivotal player for the Brazil team at the U-17 world cup in Indonesia in 2023. He contributed three goals and three assists as the Brazilians were eventually knocked out in the quarter finals by Argentina. Another prodigy, Claudio Echeverri, scored a hat-trick in that game, a name that Premier League fans will be familiar with soon as he’s set to join champions Manchester City next year.

It was a big achievement for Estevao to thrive in a very talented U-17 Brazil team, which puts him in good stead to continue to work his way up the ranks and become a full international at the senior level in the coming years.

There will be huge pressure on his shoulders when he arrives at Chelsea, given the potential he is showing now as well as the big price tag attached to his transfer. If he can adapt to the Premier League and show his quality early on, then he could become a regular for both Brazil and Chelsea.

Playing Style

One of the biggest strengths of the Brazilian’s game is his dribbling, balance, and ability to run at defenders with pace, which is creating many problems for opposition players. Another attribute in his play that perhaps separates him from so many youngsters is his decision-making and final product while showcasing his creativity.

This is accelerated even further by the fact that he is comfortable with both feet, despite his left being superior. This means he can just as easily cut inside onto his left foot or go down the line on his right, wielding similar results, which will be essential to having that unpredictability in his game, which will help him massively in a better league.

His eye for goal and ability to assist are strong as well, which he showed in abundance at youth level. His professional contribution numbers haven’t perhaps reflected this as of yet as he continues to adjust to senior football, but this is sure to come with time as he continues to progress.

His flair, trickery, and prowess in receiving the ball with his back to goal and turning the defender before advancing up the pitch will draw comparisons from Chelsea fans to a young Eden Hazard. If he turns out to be half the player for them that the Belgian was, then Chelsea have a real gem in their hands.

One of the things Estevao will have to work on before coming to the Premier League is his physicality and endurance. These will be aspects of his game that will be severely tested right away, as the English League will be played with much more intensity than the Serie A in Brazil.

See also  SOURCES: Final Decision On Sofyan Amrabat Loan Deal Yet To Be Made

How would he fit in at Chelsea?

Estevao won’t be arriving at Chelsea until 2025, which means a lot can still change in terms of personnel, players, and manager, which may alter his integration. The players Chelsea have right now can be looked at to see where he could play amongst this squad. The current right side at Chelsea is being occupied by both Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke.

However, Cole Palmer has been sensational in a more central role in the latter stages of the season, which means that he may continue there next season depending on the availability of Christian Nkunku and Chelsea’s transfer business.

If this ends up being the case, then it will leave Noni Madueke as Chelsea’s only recognised right winger, with both Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk mostly occupying the left-hand side. This will give Estevao a perfect opportunity to come in and fight for his place with the Englishman on the right wing. There will be a desire to integrate Estevao quickly into Chelsea’s first team squad, given the huge transfer fee they paid and the level of potential the winger is showing already in his performances.  

Chelsea’s history of signings from South American clubs

Chelsea have had mixed results in the past when buying players from South America, but they will be hoping that Estevao will top that list in the years to come.

Two of the most successful signings were Alex and Oscar, who managed to make an impact at Stamford Bridge. They signed Alex from Santos in 2004 but sent him out to PSV after work permit issues, where he was an integral part of the defence during a successful spell for the Dutch side. He returned to Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. He became a vital part of Chelsea’s defence in a partnership with John Terry.

Alex built up a reputation as a strong defender with thunderous free kick ability in his locker. He went on to win the Premier League and two FA Cups with the London club before departing for PSG. Although the latter end of his Chelsea career was marred by injuries, he definitely showed his quality and his ability to adapt to the Premier League when playing.

One of the most successful investments from South America was Oscar, who signed from Internacional in 2012. The attacking midfielder quickly adapted to English football and built a strong partnership with Eden Hazard and Juan Mata in an exciting attack for the Blues.

See also  SOURCES: Chelsea Yet To Make Contact For Bayer Leverkusen Defender Piero Hincapie

Oscar went on to make 131 appearances for Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles, the League Cup, and the Europa League during a productive spell in London. The Brazilian left Chelsea to join Shanghai Port in China in a lucrative move, where he still plays today. Oscar can definitely go down as one of Chelsea’s best signings from a South American club.

In contrast, there were many young players signed from South American clubs with massive expectations who failed to make their mark in London.

Chelsea had to fight off Juventus among a host of other top European clubs to sign Lucas Piazon in 2012. The striker was hugely impressive in the youth ranks for Sao Paulo. He only appeared once in a Chelsea shirt as he went out on loan to seven different clubs before eventually departing Chelsea for Braga in 2021.

He clearly never made a strong enough impression during his loan spells to warrant Chelsea giving him a run in the team. He made 167 appearances while out on loan but only managed to score 30 goals.

There were huge expectations for many other players playing in South America who failed to make an impact at Chelsea, such as Kenedy, Wallace, and Nathan. There seemed to be a reluctance from the Blues to keep investing in young South American talents following these signings, but this has changed in recent times.

Chelsea have delved back into the South American market with the signings of many highly rated youngsters, such as Kendry Paez, Deivid Washington, Andrey Santos, and Angelo, as well as Estevao Willian. They were also close to signing Endrick before eventually losing out to Real Madrid, a mistake they wanted to make sure didn’t happen with Estevao. They will be hoping that their scouting in this area can pay off hugely and that the players can live up their potential and excel in London.

A bright future

Estevao has shrugged off the ‘Messinho’ nickname as he has proved himself to be a huge prospect with enormous potential in his own right who will have every chance to showcase his talent at Stamford bridge. There is hope from the Blues that he will be able to hit the ground running and become an essential part of their attack for years to come as they look to return to the summit of English Football.

About The Author

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply