Chelsea came close to signing Brazil superstar Neymar from Santos in 2013, according to a report in Athletic.
According to the report, Chelsea were in talks to sign Neymar from Santos and the Stamford Bridge outfit went close to signing him but lost out to Barcelona in the end.
The report states that Chelsea’s Michael Emenalo wanted Neymar to make Chelsea ‘a household name’ across the globe in a similar way Michael Jordan did for the Chicago Bulls.
During discussions, Emenalo told Neymar: “You are going to lead Chelsea to the top.”
While, according to the report, football lawyer Marcos Motta recounted Chelsea’s approach to sign Neymar and Emenalo’s proposal stating: “It was the very first time that I saw Neymar’s father listen to someone for more than 30 minutes without looking at his mobile.”
However, what Chelsea didn’t know was that Barcelona had agreed on a fee of £35m with Santos with £8.7m paid upfront to the player to sign him at a later date.
The fee, which was significantly large at the time, swayed Neymar to joining Barcelona in the end.
It was certainly a close call and had Chelsea signed the Brazilian superstar back then things would certainly have been very different for the London club.
Neymar then left Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in a blockbuster transfer move in 2017 that saw him become one of the world’s highest-paid footballers.