Todd Boehly handed Andrey Santos loan deal reassurance amid ‘secret’ Nottingham Forest clause
Chelsea loanee Andrey Santos is not likely to have enjoyed his start to life at Nottingham Forest after his move over the summer has seen him fail to make a Premier League appearance for the Reds.
The 19-year-old arrived at Stamford Bridge back in January after an impressive youth career with Brazilian club Vasco De Gama, where he broke into the first team at just 16. In his final season for the South American side, he netted eight goals and provided two assists from 33 appearances in central midfield and joined Mauricio Pochettino’s squad over the summer ahead of their pre-season tour.
Just after he joined the Blues at the start of the year, he also captained Brazil’s Under-20 international side to an undefeated World Cup title where he notched a tournament-high six goals, eventually leading to his debut for the senior Brazil international team in March.
Chelsea supporters were full of hope and excitement when pre-season rolled around, with the tour of the U.S a prime time for Santos to show off his skills in front of his new fans. And show off he did, playing in four of the five games across the summer, with him only missing out on a feisty encounter with Borussia Dortmund.
However, it was clear to manager Mauricio Pochettino that Santos wasn’t ready for Premier League football – hence the late additions of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia to the squad before the summer deadline closed. So when he was sent out on loan to Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest, Blues supporters were understanding of the nature of the deal.
Get the youngster some valuable regular minutes in a side that are looking to improve on their first season back in the Premier League, perfect. But it’s been anything but perfect over a month into the deal.
In Forest’s five league games since he arrived at the club, Santos is yet to play a single minute. Given that the first came a day after he was announced, and the second was against Chelsea – a game he was ineligible to play in -, that still leaves three worrying weekends that have left Blues fans sweating.
He was left on the bench unused for the side’s 1-1 draw against Burnley in mid-September before being dropped entirely from the matchday squad ahead of the 2-0 loss to Manchester City. Even when Forest went down to 10 men against Brentford over the weekend, the 19-year-old wasn’t given a look by Steve Cooper.
However, there is a chance he’ll be utilised for this weekend’s clash against Crystal Palace, given Forest’s current injury list. Ryan Yates, Nicolas Dominguez and compatriot Danilo are all midfielders that will be ruled out for the trip down to London leaving the youngster a prime opportunity to finally make his debut.
There will also be severe repercussions for Forest if they continue to fail to play the star, with the Athletic reporting that the Blues are keeping a close eye on how the deal is currently panning out. The report suggests that there’s a break clause in the loan agreement, meaning that if necessary, Chelsea could recall the youngster in January – something fans have already started calling for.
It’s believed that Forest would also be subject to financial penalties for not playing Santos when he’s fully fit, another benefit that swings the momentum of the deal into Chelsea’s favour. It’s clear that Pochettino wants his stars to gain invaluable experience while he tries to establish a set base in his first season with the club, a move that’ll no doubt help him utilise his players to their fullest once they return to Cobham over the summer rather than becoming the loanee cogs in the large Chelsea machine that they might’ve become in past seasons.