West Ham join Manchester City and Chelsea in race to sign Neymar - the new Pele

29 June 2010 08:23
Great expectations: Neymar is tipped for the top

West Ham have joined the clubs circling Brazilian wonderkid Neymar - only to be warned they must obliterate their transfer record to sign the 18-year-old.

The Santos forward has been inevitably compared to Pele and is widely seen as the country's most talented teenager for silky skills and eye for goal.

Manchester City secured first option on Neymar when they allowed Robinho to join Santos on loan, while Chelsea and Real Madrid have closely tracked him for some time.

Sources in Brazil say West Ham have made informal enquiries in the last few days as they search for a striker.

However, Santos believe that it is at least 12 months too soon to sell their brightest prospect and insist they will not consider a deal for less than his £28.4million release clause.

Any deal is complicated by Santos owning just 60 per cent of Neymar's rights and restrictive rules following the transfers of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano mean that English suitors would have to buy out the remaining 40 per cent from an investment group.

The future of his highly rated team-mate Paulo Henrique Ganso is more fluid.

  City also have a first-option on the 20-year-old, dubbed the 'New Kaka', but Lyon have joined AC Milan and Real Madrid in stepping up their interest.

Manchester United's scouts in Brazil have also been impressed by a player who was on the standby list to go to the World Cup despite national coach Dunga consistently overlooking youth in favour of experience.

Ganso has an even bigger buy-out clause than Neymar and Santos would expect a hefty fee, but the playmaker recently refused to consider his future beyond the Brazilian Cup final on August 4. 

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Source: Daily_Mail