Porto have cut out a niche in the market by raising young stars within their own ranks before selling them for major profits, but 2015 could see Andre Silva leave their ranks for free with some of Europe's big guns sniffing.
The 18-year-old Porto B striker, one of the hottest prospects in his homeland, has rejected a new deal at Porto and will leave the club when his contract expires in June. He has made up his mind to move to the Premier League and Arsenal boss Wenger is leading the chase.
At 19 years of age, the starlet isn't anywhere close to having the same impact as Diego Costa's move to Stamford Bridge did this past summer, but the Blues have also made a habit of stockpiling youth of late.
Were Silva's deal in Porto not running out in 2015, the superior option might be to let him mature before making a move, but the imminent nature of his departure makes for a sense of urgency to agree a deal.
Getting in before a Premier League competitor will be essential to the deal, and while Costa is very much the reliable goalscorer of today, it's also pivotal that Jose Mourinho considers the leading men of tomorrow.
Chelsea have come under fire for their monopoly of young talent in recent years, but Mourinho is aware of the financial benefit of hoarding prospects. Earlier in 2014, Dominic Fifield of The Guardian quoted the Blues chief as saying:
Chelsea made great investment in the past and were also criticised because we did so much but things change. The club adapted well to the situation. You see De Bruyne gave us a big profit and there are other players who – maybe – won't play a single match for Chelsea and we sell them at a profit.
We had to organise ourselves in a different way and, before I came here, Chelsea did fantastic work in this level: Lukaku, De Bruyne, Courtois, [Lucas] Piazon … not all of them will have a career at Chelsea but all of them are important in this new financial organisation.
It's slightly upsetting to admit, but the assessment is correct in identifying the buying and selling of youth as a savvy way of making profit, not to mention opening the odds of acquiring a prodigy or two.
Silva is a Portuguese under-19 international who has 11 goals to his name in 12 appearances at that level, per Transfermarkt, and last year made the move into Porto's "B" team.
At this year's Euro Under-19 Championship, the attacker netted five goals to finish as the tournament's second-highest goalscorer, just one fewer than Germany's Golden Boot winner Davie Selke.
At the Estadio Dragao, one can bet his coaching setup has helped his development by allowing him to feature in what is arguably Portugal's best academy environment, or at least one of the most efficient in churning out elite talent.
Porto fan account Portista notes that the reliable Portuguese striker has become a rarity and that Mourinho may take a particular shining to countryman Silva in 2015:
Having yet to make his surge into Porto's senior ranks, it's highly likely that Silva's first experiences as a Chelsea player would be spent elsewhere on loan, but his reported desire to play Premier League football is an encouraging factor.
The west Londoners already have the likes of Patrick Bamford, Joao Rodriguez and Dom Solanke showing promise among their youth ranks, but it seems there's no such thing as "too much promise" at Stamford Bridge.
The fact that Silva would be available for nothing only helps in making a case as to why the English giants might be smart to invest, his early growth in the Portugal setup showcasing a keen touch in front of goal.
At present, Mourinho has the man whom he'd like to lead his line for years to come, but in Silva, Chelsea could break their trend of splurging and find a long-term project with huge potential.