Wide spread reports in Brazil claim that five European sides have met the release €45 million release clause of Santos' Brazilian starlet Neymar.
The 19-year-old has been one of the hottest targets in the transfer window this summer, and if reports are to be believed, the long-standing saga could finally come to an end. Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro was quoted confirming reports that five clubs across Europe agreed to pay the €45 million which would trigger the player's release clause.
According to reports in Brazil, the clubs in question are - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City and surprisingly, Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala. These clubs now have the permission to speak to Neymar, and the decision rests with the player as to where his future lies.
Santos president Ribeiro told ESPN Brazil, 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.
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.
The clubs have behaved ethically. They sought out Santos first and were willing to pay the clause. With this ethical approach, they can talk to anyone - with Neymar's father, with (agent) Wagner Ribeiro, and with the representatives of Neymar.
Chelsea are possibly the longest pursuers of the striker, as they had many bids rejected for Neymar last summer, after which the Brazil international signed a new long-term deal with Santos.
Ribeiro went on, Last year, Chelsea's attitude was different. Their first action was to seek out the player's representatives.
However, these are confusing days for Neymar. The news broke just a day after he had expressed his desire to be the world's best while remaining at Santos.
Ribeiro added, It is becoming increasingly difficult for him to move on. 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.