Chelsea and Man City encouraged as Neymar denies Barcelona link

Neymar’s Premier League suitors – said to include Chelsea and Manchester City – have been given a boost after the Brazil international denied reports he has signed a pre-contract agreement with Barcelona, the Daily Mail has reported.

It had been claimed by sections of the Brazilian media in October that Barca had paid a substantial sum up front in order to tie down Neymar to a transfer to La Liga in either 2013 or 2014, the latter date coming after the World Cup held in Brazil that year was over.

The figures said to be involved would have seen Barcelona pay €10m ahead of the transfer and €40m later to complete the deal, but Neymar, speaking to a publication in Uruguay after winning an individual award from the newspaper, denied reaching any kind of binding agreement with the Catalans.

He said: “I have no agreement with Barcelona or anyone else. The only thing I have signed is with Santos, and I’m happy. They’re a big club with whom I’m under contract until 2014.

The most important thing is to be happy, and I’m with my family. My objective is to help Santos and Brazil, and the best will come with hard work.

Neymar has almost 30 caps for the senior Brazil side to his name, making his bow in 2010 against the United States as an 18-year-old, scoring after coming on as a substitute. He also helped Santos to victory in the Copa Libertadores in 2011 and has played more than 200 times for the club, despite being only 20-years-old.

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