Former Santos President speaks up on how Neymar was close to joining Chelsea
The former president of Santos, Luis Alvaro Oliveira, has confessed to the newspaper Sport that Chelsea were the first major European club who made attempts to sign Neymar. It was in August 2010, coinciding with the first call for Neymar with Brazil National Team, when he was just 18 years old.
Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, made an offer of €30 million, five million less than his buy-out clause and wanted then to have a meeting with the player himself along with his father, Neymar Sr., his agent, Wagner Ribeiro, a lawyer of the English club and two representatives working for Chelsea. In addition, the proposal also included school for Neymar's sister, a job for his parents and a lot of benefits.
Oliveira asked Neymar's father to present a counter offer in 15 days and to map out a career plan for the young striker – his increasing of salary and participation record and image rights. Following that, a group of professionals gathered to advise the player and Santos began working with his father to seek additional income.
The player had not signed the contract yet when Santos president discovered that Neymar was about to go to London: "We knew that the emissaries of Chelsea were going to pick him up at the airport after a match in southern Brazil. We sent a car to take Neymar to one of the directors' home, and there we signed the new contract..."
Published with permission from weloba.