Palmeiras starlet Estevao Willian is eager to secure a dream move to Barcelona despite interest from Chelsea and Arsenal, according to reports. The 16-year-old, nicknamed ‘Messinho’ due to his playing style, has recently been linked with a move away from Brazil after establishing himself as one of the country’s top prospects.
Estevao made his senior debut for Palmeiras last month after helping the club’s under-20 side to reach the Campeonato Brasileiro final, where they were beaten by Flamengo on penalties. He is said to be admired by the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, while Manchester United have also been credited with a growing interest in his services.
However, it seems that Barcelona could have the upper hand when it comes to snatching Estevao away from Palmeiras in the near future. The winger and his father were recently given a tour of Barcelona’s facilities and he is thought to favour the idea of moving to Spain over England, according to The Mirror.
It is said that Chelsea have already tabled an offer for Estevao, who reportedly has a £47million release clause written into his contract. Arsenal, meanwhile, are said to have been scouting him extensively with a view to a future move while maintaining regular contact with his entourage.
Barcelona had initially cooled their interest in Estevao after being put off by his price tag but are now thought to be stepping up their efforts to secure his signature. It was previously reported that Palmeiras are unlikely to demand the full value of his release clause in order to do a deal, allowing Barcelona to revisit the possibility of a move.
It remains to be seen whether Barcelona will be able to beat Chelsea and Arsenal to the signing of Estevao, who recently excelled for Brazil at the under-17 World Cup. He scored three goals and notched three assists at the tournament before the Selecao were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Estevao’s preferred role is on the right flank, where he tends to cut in and create shooting opportunities on his favoured left foot. However, he is mature enough to pick out a team-mate when he needs to and is also a threat from dead-ball situations, especially when taking free-kicks on the edge of the box.
He admitted last year that he would love to play for Barcelona in order to emulate the heroes of his childhood, such as the likes of Lionel Messi and fellow Brazilian winger Neymar. Asked by Mundo Deportivo what his biggest dream in football would be, Estevao replied: “To play for Barcelona, which is one of the best clubs in the world.
“I was born watching Neymar, Messi, and [Luis] 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 great admiration for the players who play there and I hope to be there too. Yes, it would be a dream come true.”
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