Santos insist Neymar is not for sale

BUENOS AIRES - Santos have no plans to sell teenage striker Neymar and want to keep him at the club for several more years, Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro said on Thursday.

Neymar, who helped Santos win the South American club title last week and is on duty with Brazil at the Copa America, had been the subject of offers from some of Europe's biggest clubs, he said in a statement on their website.

The gifted 19-year-old has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea and is being subjected to a daily barrage of questions about his future from reporters at Brazil's Copa America base outside Buenos Aires.

"In the face of continuous speculation over the future of our crack [player] Neymar by the national and international press, I state that for Santos FC, Neymar is not negotiable for technical, market and attachment reasons," he said.

Neymar was currently the top Brazilian player, he added, while his image was a major market asset, he had an "umbilical link" to his club and the fans and the admiration of Brazilians regardless of their affiliations.

Santos would refuse all offers for Neymar as they tried to keep him at the club "for many more years."

Ribeiro had been previously quoted as saying that five clubs - believed to be Real, Barca, Chelsea, Man City and Turkish outfit Anzhi Makhachkala - had met Neymar's £40.3 million release fee.

"We don't want to sell the player, but of course there is a release clause in his contract that can be paid and five European clubs have offered to match the clause," Ribeiro told ESPN Brasil.

"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."

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