Southampton are reportedly set to beat Premier League rivals Everton and West Ham United in the race to sign Shakhtar Donetsk winger Tete.

According to 90 min, Southampton are in advanced negotiations over the potential signing of Brazilian attacking midfielder Tete as a Bosman transfer from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. West Ham United and Everton also wanted to sign the 22-year-old Shakhtar attacker, but Southampton believe they have won the race.

Tete came through the youth ranks at Gremio but never played a senior game for them before being snapped up by Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk for €15 million in 2019. The potent forward has repaid that faith with consistent displays in recent seasons and has particularly impressed with his performances in Europe.

Despite his tender years in top-level football, the 22-year-old has featured heavily for Shakhtar and has already made over 100 competitive appearances for the Ukrainian outfit, tallying 46 goal contributions (31 Goals, 15 Assists). The Brazilian has been in fine form this term, managing ten goals and two assists in all competitions.

However, he finds himself at crossroads in his career, with overseas players granted a special window to exit clubs in Ukraine or Russia with instant effect. FIFA and UEFA regulations allow players to unilaterally suspend their contracts if they go more than three months without being paid; however, it is still unclear if these same rules will apply considering the unprecedented scenario in Ukraine.

Nonetheless, the Brazilian prodigy has plenty of admirers in the transfer market, especially from England, with almost a third of Premier League clubs credited with an interest in the 22-year-old, including Everton, Leicester City, Southampton and West Ham United.

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There is also no shortage of suitors on the continent for the Brazilian playmaker, with European bigwigs such as AC Milan, Atalanta, Napoli, Porto, Benfica and Ajax keeping close tabs on his incredible situation. However, it appears Southampton are set to overcome stiff competition from a host of other clubs to sign Shakhtar winger Tete.

The report also claims the Saints are increasingly confident of getting a deal over the line for Tete in the summer transfer window, with Premier League blocking the use of FIFA and UEFA’s authorised window for mid-season transfers involving players in Ukraine and Russia to maintain the integrity of the competition. Still, it would be a big coup for the south-coast club come summer.

In contrast, this comes as a big transfer blow for Premier League duo West Ham and Everton. The Toffees presently find themselves embroiled in a relegation fight, but even if they do survive, manager Frank Lampard will likely have to operate on a stricter budget due to their crippling financial situation. So exploring the possibility of cost-effective options as with Tete becomes a necessity for them.

As for West Ham, they could have done with adding another attacking midfielder to David Moyes’s roster, given star-winger Jarrod Bowen is courting strong interest from Liverpool. Whether Southampton would need to pay a transfer fee for Tete still remains to be seen, but the south coast club looks to be firmly in the driving seat to acquire his services.

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