Who is…the Olympic champion Chelsea see as future midfielder?
It seems that the summer transfer window threw up its fair share of dead ends for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as it emerges another of the Italian’s targets couldn’t be brought to Stamford Bridge.
Rather than one of numerous centre-halves linked with the Blues, this time the reports focus on Brazilian boy wonder Thiago Maia.
The Santos midfielder,19, was part of his country’s glorious World Cup winning team that helped banish the pain of World Cup 2014 with gold in Rio.
Understandably, Maia’s club were uninterested in letting one of their prized assets waltz off to the Premier League considering he is under contract until 2019.
Sticking points such as this rarely phase clubs with pockets as cavernous as Chelsea’s though and speculation is now rife that the Maia files will be reopened in January. Around £15m is mooted to be the amount that could persuade Santos to reconsider.
But what kind of player would Chelsea actually be gaining for their outlay?
Judging by his performances at the Olympics and the extensive highlights reels devoted to him across various online platforms, it looks like Maia is blessed to have nearly every facet a midfielder would wish for.
Playing centrally, but left-footed, Maia has the skills and deft touch you’d associate with the finest players hailing from his homeland.
What potentially marks him out as a cut above the rest though is his ability to intercept and recover the ball in central areas as well as execute the eye-pleasing turns and swivels.
Such talented players are far more common than those that add a diligent, hard-working side to their game.
Maia also has a burst of pace and seems to utilise it when swiftly turning defence into attack. The only potential criticism for this box-to-box maestro would be a lack of goals to date. He has only netted two in 72 for Santos.
Other stats are a little harder to come by, but a visit to YouTube is sure to excite Chelsea fans who may see the Boa Vista native turn up in London in January.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.