Man City and Chelsea in five-way battle to sign Neymar

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Manchester City and Chelsea are believed to be two of the five European sides who are in talks with Neymar after agreeing to meet his minimum fee release clause at Santos.

Neymar recently showed his class with two goals to help Santos lift the Copa Libertadores by beating Penarol in the final and it now seems certain that this was his final game for the club.

Although Santos are unwilling to name the clubs who have tabled bids of £40.3m for the 19-year-old, it is speculated that Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the other parties.

Meanwhile, the fifth side is reported as being well-off Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, who already have four Brazilians in their ranks, including Roberto Carlos.

Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro told ESPN: “We don’t want to sell Neymar, but obviously there is a contractual clause they can pay.

“Five European clubs have offered to meet this clause. I can’t say which ones because that’s an agreement between Santos and the clubs. They asked to speak to the player and we’ve obviously given them permission.”

Reports in recent weeks had initially suggested that Real Madrid had already agreed terms with the striker, with the Brazilian set to earn €5m each season for five years.

The Bernabeu still seems the most likely destination for Neymar, particularly with Barcelona’s financial troubles well documented.

However, Manchester City and Chelsea can also offer Neymar Champions League football, while potentially outdoing their Spanish rivals in the wages they can provide.

The one obstacle that the Premier League pair must overcome is convincing Neymar that they provide the platform to make him the best in the world, which is certainly something Barcelona and Real Madrid can.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.