Chelsea face heated competition from Crystal Palace for Brazilian superstar; £22m battle imminent

Harry Watkinson
Pedro do Flamengo celebrates his fourth goal for Flamengo with Matheus Franca
Pedro do Flamengo celebrates his fourth goal for Flamengo with Matheus Franca

Crystal Palace are set to battle Chelsea for the signature of highly-rated Brazilian youngster Matheus Franca this summer, according to reports.

After bringing in Andrey Santos in January, Chelsea have been looking at several young stars from South America as Mauricio Pochettino continues his squad rebuild.

It was reported last week that the Blues were close to signing Franca. However, Crystal Palace may have just thrown a spanner in the works.

This is according to Globo (via the Daily Mail), who claim the Eagles have also ‘sent a proposal’ to Franca’s club Flamengo over signing him this summer.

The report adds that Crystal Palace have been scouting the 19-year-old ‘for a number of months.’

Franca is reportedly valued at approximately £22m, which is a lot of money for a youngster with no experience of European football. Nevertheless, if he lives up to his sky-high potential, he will be worth every penny.

So far, he has scored nine goals in 54 appearances for Flamengo, helping his team to win the Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brasil last year.

A versatile player, Franca has the ability to play as a central or attacking midfielder, or as a second striker on occasion. Therefore, he could provide cover in several positions for Chelsea or Crystal Palace.

Franca is reportedly ‘keen to join a Premier League club’ this summer but wants to play regular first team football.

This isn’t an option at Chelsea, whose plan is reportedly to send him out on loan to Strasbourg. However, Crystal Palace may well give him an immediate chance to shine in England.

As previously reported by Football365, Newcastle and West Ham also have Franca on their radar, but it seems they have now dropped out of the race.

Therefore, it appears we could have a straight battle between Chelsea and Crystal Palace for the youngster. As mentioned, he is valued at £22m and Chelsea have already expressed a willingness to match that fee.

With Wilfried Zaha heavily linked with a departure from the Eagles, they need someone who can score goals and the Brazilian could prove to be an excellent long-term solution.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Crystal Palace make a concrete offer for Franca in the near future.

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