• Premier League

Chelsea contemplate £25 million Neymar move

ESPN Soccernet staff
July 17, 2010
Neymar has the same agent as Robinho © Getty Images

Chelsea are contemplating a £25 million bid for Brazilian starlet Neymar, a deal that would see the highly-rated striker become the most expensive teenager in world football.

Neymar, 18, has impressed at Santos over the past 12 months, and his performances led to widespread calls for Dunga to call him up to Brazil's World Cup squad. He didn't make the plane to South Africa but that hasn't stopped Chelsea working on an offer to bring one of the world's hottest prospects to England, with the Blues thought to be deep in discussions about a possible move.

Neymar's current contract runs until 2014, but Santos are happy to cash in. The club insist they will not do a deal for anything less than the striker's £28.4 million release clause, but if Chelsea come anywhere close to that figure, the Brazilian side are certain to sell.

"Chelsea want the boy, but wanted him to gain some experience in English football first with another club," a source close to the transfer told Soccernet. "That doesn't look likely, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if they buy him outright, and a bid anywhere over £20 million is sure to persuade Santos to sell."

Under rules in Brazil, Neymar was prohibited from registering for a team outside Brazil until his 18th birthday, but with the first transfer window since he turned 18 in February now open, Chelsea are considering a bid.

West Ham had been making all the running to acquire the teenager, but, clearly the Hammers couldn't afford to buy Neymar outright, and the door is now open for Chelsea.

Neymar's agent, Wagner Ribeiro, masterminded the deal that took Robinho from Santos to Real Madrid in 2005, as well as the same player's subsequent £34 million British-record transfer to Manchester City - and now he is behind an astonishing move to bring Neymar to English football.

The boy's father, Neymar da Silva Santos, has appeared happy with the arrangement to let his son settle into a completely new environment, which could still include a learning curve with West Ham before heading on to Stamford Bridge.

A potential stumbling block is that Neymar is 40% owned by a group of investors, and to qualify to play for a club in England, the third party owners would have to be bought out entirely.

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