Chelsea send scouts to Rio to watch Thiago Maia, £15m deal


Chelsea have sent scouts to the Rio Olympics to watch Brazilian Thiago Maia, 19.

The youngster has been on Blues boss Antonio Conte’s radar for some time and now the Italian is running the rule over the midfielder before deciding on whether to bid for the youngster.

Defensive midfielder Maia has a unique interest in the deal. As well as being the player, he would also take 30% of the fee.

His agent, Kia Joorabchian, is close to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and is reportedly in London to negotiate the terms of a £15m deal.

It’s likely to follow the same pattern of Manchester City’s deal with Palmeiras for Gabriel Jesus, 19, with Maia staying at Santos until the end of the Brazilian season in December. The legendary club, formerly home to Pele, currently sit third in Serie A behind Corinthians and league leaders, Palmeiras.

Conte recently promised Chelsea supporters that the club’s transfer business would be ramped up in the coming weeks and Maia may be the first new signing.

Moves to bring Romelu Lukaku, 23, to Stamford Bridge have stalled with Everton set to begin talks with his agent Mina Raiola over a new contract at Goodison Park. The Toffees are reportedly furious that Chelsea are attempting to destabilise the striker but have yet to make a formal approach for talks.

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, 25, is still on Conte’s list of targets but the Italian club are reluctant to sell having lost Gonzalo Higuain this summer.


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