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Chelsea 'ahead of Premier League rivals to sign forward Estevao Willian'

Chelsea 'lead race to sign Palmeiras forward Estevao Willian'
© Reuters
Chelsea are reportedly leading the race against Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United to secure the signing of Palmeiras teenager Estevao Willian next year.

Chelsea are reportedly leading the race against Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United to secure the signing of Palmeiras teenager Estevao Willian in the New Year.

The highly-rated 16-year-old is also understood to be on the radar of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the January transfer window.

Willian has already broken into the senior team and played 12 minutes in the final match of the season for Palmeiras before they were crowned champions of Brazil last week.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Chelsea have already opened talks with Palmeiras over a potential deal for Willian and are ahead of Arsenal and Barcelona in securing his signature.

The report adds that the valuation of the teenager is believed to be in the region of £35m, though the 16-year-old will only become eligible to join The Blues when he turns 18.

Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are also believed to be monitoring the youngster's progression.

However, in a recent interview, the teenager named Barcelona as his dream destination and emphasised his eagerness to move to Europe once he becomes eligible to do so.

Willian has earned the nickname 'Messinho' back in Brazil due to comparisons in his playing style with the World Cup winner Lionel Messi.

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