Newcastle United ‘ready’ to challenge Barcelona for Brazilian wonderkid

Bruno Guimaraes is preparing to make his debut at a major tournament with Brazil

Newcastle United are ready to ‘bid hard’ for Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos, according to SPORT.

The 18-year-old came up through the ranks with the Brazilian club and has become a key member of the squad since making his senior debut last year. Santos has made 33 appearances in Serie B this season and has netted an impressive eight goals from midfield.

The teenager recently put pen to paper on a new deal with Vasco da Gama until 2027, however it is thought that the contract contains a release clause worth €40 million as the club look to make a profit on the wonderkid. With Newcastle’s owners’ wealth, Santos’ value is certainly no issue and the report claims they are prepared to splash the cash on the defensive midfielder. However, they aren’t alone with their interest.

Barcelona are also reportedly eager to snap up Santos and have been monitoring the youngster for a while now as they look to rebuild their squad, with Sergio Busquets set to leave at the end of the season. However, Barca’s obvious financial troubles mean they are unlikely to be willing to enter a bidding war with the Magpies and could be forced to pull out of the race.

The 18-year-old is highly-rated in Brazil and would join the likes of Douglas Luiz, Philippe Coutinho and Alex Teixeira as Vasco de Gama’s most memorable academy products. While he would be unlikely to feature in the senior team straight away, Santos could also line up against fellow Brazilian, Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton, in the Newcastle side. His arrival would also add some much needed squad depth if they are to qualify for European football next season - especially with Jonjo Shelvey’s contract set to expire in the summer.