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Chelsea make 17m move for Santos starlet Neymar - also wanted by West Ham and Manchester City

21 Jul 2010 06:46:45

Chelsea make 17m move for Santos starlet Neymar - also wanted by West Ham and Manchester City

His future's still up in the air: Neymar looks set to stay with Santos despite interest from Chelsea and Manchester City Chelsea have failed in a £17million bid for Santos wonderkid Neymar. The Brazilian club insist they will not do a deal for less than the 18-year-old's £29.6m release clause, though an improved bid closer to £20m could be enough to snare one of the world's most gifted teenagers. West Ham had a £12m bid rejected earlier this month in a move that was seen as a stepping stone to Stamford Bridge and welcomed by the player's father. But the Blues have now made their own offer for a skilful forward who wowed Brazil by overshadowing Robinho at Santos in the run-up to the World Cup. He has scored 32 goals in 33 games this year and there was an outcry when Dunga overlooked him for South Africa 2010. Santos say they will only do a deal if the release clause is met, but they took the same position with promising striker Andre, who had a £41m buyout fee written into his contract only to be sold to Dynamo Kiev for £6.5m in June. VIDEO: Check out Neymar's silky skills...The Brazilian club said in a statement: 'Late on Tuesday morning, Santos FC received an official offer from Chelsea for the economic rights of Neymar. 'President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has sent a response to the English club thanking them for their interest and reiterating the fact that Santos FC have no interest in opening negotiations.' Highly rated: Forward Neymar Chelsea have kept a close eye on Neymar for two years and may have to move now to see off interest from Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are keen on a player who has been likened to Robinho and, inevitably, Pele - while Manchester City secured first-refusal on him as part of the deal that allowed Robinho to join the club on loan. If the bid is accepted, City must be offered the chance to match it, and the option of a part-exchange for Robinho is likely to be mooted. Neymar is 40 per cent owned by an investment group, who must also agree to part with their share to meet Barclays Premier League rules. The investors pledged earlier this year that they were committed to Neymar seeing out his five-year Santos contract, but after paying just £2m for their share, a quick return of £6.8m could be hard to resist.  West Ham's bid for Neymar gets the thumbs up from Santos forward's dadRobinho warns wonderkid Neymar to avoid joining Man City or Chelsea


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