When Chelsea announced that Andrey Santos had returned from his loan to Nottingham Forest, nobody was shocked. The Brazilian midfielder was supposed to play all season at the City Ground, but it had long appeared that the transfer might terminate before expected.
Santos played in just two games for the Reds, the first coming in the Carabao Cup against Burnley a few days after he was loaned out. The 19-year-old made his debut against Liverpool in October, and since then, he has only been included in one matchday squad.
The young player was signed by the Blues almost a year ago, but he couldn’t play for the team until he was able to secure a work permit. Santos had plenty of opportunity to play football, though, as he participated in the South American under-20 championship, leading Brazil to victory and taking home the title of tournament goal scorer. After that, he went back on loan to Vasco da Gama and captained the Brazil under-20 team at the World Cup in the summer.
After his country’s quarterfinal exit, Santos joined Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea team right away. The midfielder was one of the players that stood out from the crowd during the Blues manager’s massive preseason delegation to the United States.
Before the decision was made to move the young star to Forest, Santos was included in Pochettino’s squad for the season’s opening match against Liverpool, giving the impression that a first team opportunity might be in the works. Only a few days after Santos moved, the Midlands team added Ibrahim Sangare and Nicolas Dominguez.
It seems sense that the loan fell through, and Santos is now left wondering what comes next. The midfield player’s squad number at the beginning of the season is gone, as Cole Palmer claimed it once he arrived.
After acquiring Hakim Ziyech, Angelo Gabriel, Romelu Lukaku, Charlie Webster, David Datro Fofana, Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Gabriel Slonina, Chelsea is no longer eligible to loan any players overseas. Santos’ predicament persists, but there’s still a chance to locate a domestic squad that might be interested.
Brazil’s team has chosen to compete in the pre-Olympic competition using the Vasco da Gama product in an attempt to earn a spot in the summer Olympics in Paris. In less than three weeks, the competition’s group round will get underway, and if Brazil makes it through, they’ll be there until February 11.
Naturally, that causes any transition time with a new squad at the end of the season to be delayed. While teams start to focus on developing players who will stay with them the next season, the conclusion of any season can always present challenges for an on-loan player.
Santos might therefore decide to stay in west London till the completion of the current campaign. Before getting to the injured pair of Lesley Ugochukwu and Romeo Lavia, there is no lack of competition in the centre of midfield with Conor Gallagher, Moises Caicedo, and Enzo Fernandez.
In the upcoming weeks, the Blues will need to overcome the challenge of trying to turn around a disastrous season for Santos. After a hectic start to 2023, a little rest wouldn’t have hurt, but his loan transfer doesn’t appear to be a good one.
Santos, despite his ability to score goals, would provide a reliable alternative to sit at the base of midfield and keep the ball moving. He shown this ability in the summer. As an absolute defensive midfielder, only Ugochukwu genuinely offers something to that effect. Santos might stay if the Frenchman is thought to be a better prospect this time around for a loan.