Who is Andrey Santos you may ask? A good question to start your reading. He’s an 18-year-old Brazilian midfielder playing for Vasco da Gama, in Brazil’s second division. He has six goals in 25 appearances this season in Serie B (remember that the Brazilian leagues operate on a different calendar). Those numbers aren’t earth-shattering, but it is positive considering he usually operates in a double pivot as one of the deeper midfielders.

He was called up in January of last season and has taken well to professional football. The second division in the Brazil isn’t the highest benchmark, but he is dribbling past players with relative ease and his defensive work is sound.

All of those details put him on Barcelona’s radar, especially with a contract that was due to end next summer. As Barça search high and low for Sergio Busquets’ successor (or two), a young player on a free transfer is a promising place to look. Yet, the Catalans may need to immediately look elsewhere because Andrey Santos has renewed his deal until 2027 with a fresh, new release clause of €40m. Due to Vasco da Gama playing in the second division, Barcelona would reportedly want the fee lowered to €30m, though even that is a hefty price for an unknown teenager.

With clubs like PSG also circling, it’s telling that Barcelona is already somewhat aware of the numbers that will scare them off. In the case of Kaiky, one of the two Santos teenagers who Barcelona had a right of first refusal on due to a complicated punishment involving Gabigol, he left for UD Almeria in La Liga for €7m, instead of the €20m that Barcelona was allegedly told. So Barcelona must be confused that the other Santos teenager, Ângelo Gabriel, the 17-year-old winger, has a price of €35. When looking at the recent Brazilian talents that were sold for a similar price (Vini Jr., Reiner, Rodrygo – I know, Real Madrid love signing young Brazilian attackers), Ângelo is a risk, but one that may pay off in a few seasons. However, that risk must come at the right price.

When it comes to these Brazilian rumors, they all seem unlikely, due to the amount of financial risk that Barcelona will have to work with next summer. We spoke about how frighteningly little the club may have to spend next summer if the contracts of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Frenkie de Jong stay at their current numbers.

The rumors are already flying about the business that Barcelona may choose to do. If Hector Bellerin is useful, he’ll get a longer deal. The same goes for Marcos Alonso. Those rumors perfectly coincide with heavy links to Martín Zubimendi, Real Sociedad’s 23-year-old defensive midfielder who has a €60m release clause. If Barcelona can only spend on one player, the full-backs may be forgotten again, as the role of pivot comes front and center. As for the risk involved in young talent from abroad, the eyes will instead continue to be on La Masia and Barcelona finding ways to get younger from within.