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Pochettino leaning towards keeping Andrey Santos in the Chelsea first-team squad amid loan rumours

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to keep teenage midfielder Andrey Santos with the first-team squad for next season, per Evening Standard.

Several clubs want to take the 19-year-old on loan, but Pochettino wants him to stay with the first team after impressing in pre-season training.

Santos featured in Chelsea’s 5-0 win over Wrexham in a pre-season friendly and he looked impressive.

He requested the ball in tight areas and attempted eye-catching line-breaking passes.

Santos did not pass up on his defensive duties, helping to shut down opposition attacks and eliminate the danger.

It was a great showing from the Brazilian international, but there are plenty of issues to iron out.

Pochettino wants to monitor his development closely and is increasingly likely to keep him around the first team. It also helps that Santos has now received his permit to work in England.

Santos applied twice for a permit after signing for Chelsea from Vasco da Gama for around £18 million in January but was rejected both times. 

Captaining his side to glory at the South American Youth Championship was not enough to get him the permit, but he has since received it.

He will look forward to contributing to Chelsea’s 2023/24 campaign if Pochettino gives him his chance.

Another youngster that has impressed Pochettino is Cesare Casadei. He may also get a chance with the first team despite loan interest from Leicester City.

Left-back Ian Maatsen was arguably the most impressive of the bunch. He netted a brace in the first half and declared he wants to stay.

Maatsen could be a valuable asset for Chelsea, but they must sell one of the four left-backs on their books.

Another player who needs to hear a decision from Pochettino is midfielder Conor Gallagher.

He scored against Wrexham, but Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United want to sign him. The manager must decide his future. 

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