Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has revealed striker Neymar received offers from Premier League giants Manchester City and Chelsea ahead of his move to the Catalan side this summer, per the Daily Star's Jack Wilson.
Rosell was speaking to the El Larguero radio programme on Cadena SER when he made the revelation, while also confirming the total deal to bring the Brazilian to Catalunya amounted to €57.5 million.
Per Wilson, Rosell told the show:
I spoke with his father when we met in Miami and we closed the deal there. There were four parties that owned his rights as part of the agreement and we had to agree with all of those, but in the end we closed the deal for €57.5 million (£48.6 million).
The key was that the player wanted to come to Barcelona. Everything was based on that despite offers he had from Man City, Chelsea, Bayern and Real Madrid.
Interest from the four sides named is unsurprising given Neymar's status as one of the world's leading young players and most marketable faces. It is, though, the first time that an approach from the two English clubs has been confirmed.
Neymar's start to life in Barcelona has thus far been excellent, with the Brazil international having provided two goals and five assists in his brief La Liga career to date.
Rosell's investment is already paying off on the pitch and, given Neymar's popularity in Brazil and his highly marketable image, there is no doubt the Catalan side will also be benefiting from his arrival commercially.
In the early weeks of his career at the Camp Nou, Neymar was keen to show that he was willing to play second fiddle to Lionel Messi—often to the point where he would seem to be deliberately looking to set up the Argentine star.
As he has settled and become more confident with his role at the Spanish champions, though, that initial reticence has all but disappeared. Messi's current injury absence, also, has allowed him to take on more responsibility in the forward line, which he has done to great effect.
Brazil will benefit from Neymar's move ahead of the World Cup next summer, with his pre-Confederations Cup return to form surely related to the completion of what had become a transfer saga.
Neymar should arrive at the competition next summer a more relaxed figure, having already won over the majority of his critics with his performances on some of football's biggest stages in recent months.
Martino: "I don't want Neymar to play one good game, one good season, or one good World Cup. I work for him to have a long career." #fcblvie— barcastuff (@barcastuff) September 13, 2013
For Chelsea and City, it will now be a case of what might have been—although both spent extravagantly on other forward recruits this summer. It is no surprise, then, that Rosell is willing to gloat about capturing his man this summer given Neymar's start to life at his new club.
He is one of football's undoubted superstars and, crucially for Rosell, will be Barcelona's superstar for many years to come.