Marcel Brands should avoid launching a summer swoop for Everton to sign Yeferson Soteldo, despite the Venezuelan stating that he’s open to leaving Santos.
While speaking with FIFA’s official website, Soteldo admitted he dreams of one day playing in the Premier League and that he feels ready to take that step.
Soteldo joined Santos from Chilean side Huachipato in January 2019 and has scored 17 goals while providing 15 assists in 81 appearances across all competitions to date. His performances earned him a new contract at the start of the year, one that runs until December 2023.
Penning a new deal at the Urbano Caldeira Stadium may further drive up President Jose Carlos Peres’ asking price, having valued the diminutive 5 ft 3 star at €35m (£30m) last year following approaches from Inter Milan, Everton and a host of clubs from Spain.
Soteldo has also become a regular in his national side as they strive to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, with 19 outings to his name while still captaining the Venezuela U23s side.
The 23-year-old intends to do all he can to help his country make it to Qatar next year, which would mark the nation’s first-ever appearance at a FIFA World Cup finals.
“It’s a clear goal and something that’s on my wish list, so I’ll give everything possible to make it happen,” he said. “But I’ve learned not to get obsessed about things, otherwise I’d go crazy and wouldn’t be able to make a career from football.”
A career Soteldo hopes will one day include a spell in England, adding: “Today, I can say that I’m ready to take it to the next level, although I feel good here at Santos. We’ll see after the Copa America. I’ve always liked the English league.”
While Santos President Peres claimed Everton were interested in a move for Soteldo, who he lauds for his “sensational skills”, Brands should avoid seeing the winger’s recent declaration as justification to launch a move to sign the dual-footed maestro this summer.
Soteldo may have admirers across the globe but the 23-year-old is yet to offer any real consistency in his output, having been involved in 15 goals (nine scored, six assisted) in his maiden Serie A season before contributing to nine (four scored, five assisted) in 2020.
At 23, Soteldo is also older than what most of Santos’ top prospects traditionally have been when they have sealed moves to Europe, with Neymar joining FC Barcelona at 21 and Rodrygo sealing a €45m (£40m) move to Real Madrid in 2019 at 18 years of age.
Los Blancos were not afraid to get the chequebook out for Rodrygo – a player President Florentino Perez described as “one of the great prodigies” – after he struck nine goals and five assists in 41 Brazilian Serie A games to quickly establish himself as “one of the big emerging stars of Brazilian football”.
And while Rodrygo is now a regular first-team player at the Santiago Bernabeu, there are just as many misses when it comes to expensive South American imports with Gabriel Barbosa starting just one of his 10 appearances for Inter Milan before joining Flamengo.
The Nerazzurri had paid Santos €25m (£21.5m) after Barcelona passed on their first refusal to sign for the forward in 2016, but would only spend one of his three-and-a-half-years as an Inter player actually at the San Siro.
Soteldo’s first two years with Santos are pointing more to him being a second Barbosa than a Rodrygo, which would place the Venezuelan on course to be Everton’s new Yannick Bolasie if ever signed.
Signing Soteldo would, in our opinion, result in a similar outcome.
AND in other news, Everton face a £33.5m asking price to sign a sought-after 24-year-old talent…