The 18-year-old, who arrived from Vasco da Gama in a £18m move in the winter, was first denied a permit because the league he was coming from, Brazil’s second tier, was not deemed high enough to deserve one.
Chelsea waited until after the South American Under-20 Championships, in which Santos played a key role in Brazil’s victory, to file an appeal, and there was widespread optimism that the midfielder would be granted a visa this time around based on his international performance.
But, sources have verified to Nova Sports that the Exceptions Panel did not consider Santos’ path to glory, and that Chelsea’s appeal was once again denied.
Santos’ previous club experience was insufficient to earn him a permit, so Chelsea had to make a case that the adolescent is a notable talent who would be ‘indispensible’ to their side.
It was determined that Chelsea has enough central midfielders to cover for Santos’ absence. The Blues’ senior squad already includes N’Golo Kante, Denis Zakaria, Enzo Fernandez, Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher, Rub Loftus-Cheek, and Carney Chukwuemeka, as well as young Lewis Hall, who is a midfielder by trade despite spending most of his first-team time at left-back.
In a press conference on Friday, manager Graham Potter confirmed that Chelsea is now considering their possibilities for Santos.
“Santos is still there,” the boss stated. “We’re looking at what his choices are.”
According to Nova Sports, the midfielder is now likely to return to Brazil’s top flight on loan, with many clubs willing to sign Santos after his impressive performances with the Selecao’s Under-20 side.
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