Some Chelsea fans may remember the links their club had with Brazilian youngster Pedrinho earlier this year. The Blues were one of many European sides who sent scouts to watch the Copa São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest youth tournament, and became impressed with the midfielder in January.
At that time, his agent Will Dantas confirmed to Sport Witness that Chelsea made contacts for the player. But the talks didn’t advance, and he ended up signing his first professional contract, reportedly with a release clause of €50m.
Since then, things have been going well for Pedrinho. Corinthians currently have a strong squad, which won the Paulista title, are on top of the league and have just qualified for the Copa Sudamericana round-of-16. Despite this, he’s managing to get a spot in the team, now with 14 appearances this year.
On Wednesday, he scored in Corinthians’ 2-0 against Colombian side Patriotas, his first professional goal. And it was a beautiful one.
Instead of celebrating as a typical footballer at fancy restaurants, Pedrinho left the game and went to eat at Burger King. It became a joke between his teammates and journalists, even though everyone understands the humility of a boy who came from a poor family from the North East of Brazil.
“What’s the problem with Burger King?” he asked when leaving the press conference.
The Chelsea target’s agent was criticised by some Brazilian journalists for not taking him to a more expensive place, and responded by telling them that if the teenager wants to eat at a fast food restaurant, he will do it.
Now worth much more money than in January, the competition for the 19-year-old is obviously stronger. Barcelona were recently said to be wanting a preference over him, and it won’t be long until other clubs start working on his signing.
On Friday, website UOL published an interview with the player where he talked about the interest from European sides: “I try to feel as calm as possible. I don’t let things from outside get onto the pitch. Excitement can always mess it up. I try to leave it out of the pitch and concentrate as much as possible. Of course I’m glad I’m being seen, watched by big clubs. But my head is here.”
Maybe Chelsea would have done some great business if signing him at an earlier stage, even sooner than what Manchester City did with Gabriel Jesus. But one thing is for sure: with so many Brazilians having problems to adapt to life in Europe, it wouldn’t be easy for Pedrinho either.
He’s already far from his family by living in São Paulo, where he dreams of buying a house for them one day, and changing habits so sharply would certainly have an impact on his development. He’s growing well and seems happy where he is, and will be ready for Europe soon.
And in the right time, Chelsea will certainly be interested again, and there’s a Burger King not too far from Stamford Bridge.