Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Manchester City locked in a five-way battle for Brazil ace Neymar after meeting £40m price tag

Brazilian wonderkid Neymar 
Brazilian wonderkid Neymar

City are locked in a five-way battle to snap up Brazilian wonderkid Neymar as they look to get moving in the summer transfer market.

The 19-year-old Santos striker is free to open talks with any club who meet a £40million release clause in his contract.

Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has now confirmed that five clubs have met that asking price.

They are understood to be City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, who signed former Brazil international left-back Roberto Carlos in February.

“We don’t want to sell the player, but of course there is a release clause in his contract that can be paid. Five European clubs have offered to match the clause,” the Santos president told Brazilian television.

“I cannot name them because there is an agreement between Santos and the clubs, but they are the most important European clubs. They have asked to speak to the player and, obviously, we’ve allowed them to.”

Neymar narrowly missed out on Brazil’s World Cup squad last summer but has since established himself at international level.

Luis Alvaro did indicate over the weekend that he expected the teenager to stay at Santos.

And although he is ready for the possibility of a deal, the Santos president insists he does not need to sell the player.

“These clubs can come and make their offers, but if he wants to stay at Santos then he’ll say no and stay at Santos,” Luis Alvaro added.

City are keen to make a marquee signing ahead of next season’s Champions League push, and have become increasingly frustrated by continued twists and turns in their bid to bring in Alexis Sanchez from Italian club Udinese.

The Chilean winger has made it clear that he wants to join Barcelona, even though Udinese president Giampaolo Pozzo has indicated that he would prefer to do business with the Blues.

Sanchez said: “I dream of playing for Barcelona, because I have the chance to win a lot of trophies there. My biggest objective is to win a lot of silverware.

“I am still a young player, but I have the ambition to become the best player in the world. I need to be more clinical in front of the goal, but I am very eager.”

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