Barcelona have secured purchase options on highly rated Brazilian teenagers Kaiky and Angelo Gabriel, according to Santos president Andres Rueda.
The Blaugrana have become mired in financial issues in recent years, with their debts topping €1.4billion in 2021, meaning much of their focus in the transfer market has been on free signings and young players.
While a hefty bank loan last year ensured they could flex some financial muscle in the January transfer window, bringing in Ferran Torres from Manchester City in a deal potentially worth €65million, they still had to rely on free transfers for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dani Alves, while Adama Traore joined on loan – albeit with a €34.4m purchase option.
Despite their problems, it would seem Barca remain eager to not miss out on potential superstars again – they were apparently pipped by Real Madrid to the signings of Vinicius Junior, Reinier and Rodrygo.
As such, they have – according to Santos – secured first refusal over two of Brazil’s most-promising teenagers, Kaiky and Angelo, both of whom are already regulars at senior level.
The deal, Rueda claims, is a direct consequence of Santos reneging on a similar arrangement over Gabriel Barbosa in 2016, which cost the Brazilian club €2.9m.
Rueda told Sport:
“At Santos we had 10 priority situations to resolve that could lead to a transfer ban or a court order to block accounts. One was with Barcelona, who had an option to buy Gabigol, which, unfortunately, [Santos] did not respect in 2016. The case was before FIFA and we began to negotiate.
“It was a very tough negotiation. Quite rightly, Barcelona looked at us with a certain mistrust. We showed them that we are doing things very seriously. We transmit credibility. We negotiated for almost a year until we reached a feasible agreement for both parties… a good agreement for Barca and a regular agreement for Santos.
“Before, Barcelona had an option for Gabigol, and now they have it for two players: Angelo and Kaiky, who are two jewels that arouse great attraction throughout the market.
“In sporting terms, it is great news for Barcelona. And, for Santos, it is an agreement that freed us from a Court of Arbitration for Sport sanction. It allows us to fulfil this commitment and move on with life.
“Calmly we found another solution, and here [Barca president, Joan] Laporta was fundamental. The negotiation ended well because the two presidents and the top executives of the clubs unblocked the situation.
“The values are confidential. There is a preference for Barcelona, and a fixed purchase price.”
Kaiky, 18, is a centre-back who had been linked with many of the top European clubs over the past year.
He played more minutes in the 2021 Brasileiro (1,334) and the Copa Libertadores (495) than any other under-19 player – in the latter competition last March, Kaiky, aged 17, became the youngest Brazilian to ever score in South America’s premier tournament.
That was until Angelo broke his record and became the Libertadores’ outright youngest scorer in history the following month at the age of 16 years and 105 days.
A left-footed right-winger, Angelo only turned 17 in December but already has 55 first-team appearances to his name and was also the only under-17 player to feature in the 2021 Brasileiro.