Santos were 'almost certain' Neymar would be sold to Chelsea, but now think the Brazil superstar could stay in South America beyond 2014, reports Sky Sports.

The 20-year-old forward has long been linked with a move to Europe, with La Liga giants Barcelona having also been outlined as a potential destination for one of world football's brightest prospects.

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo was heavily linked with a bid to bring Neymar to Stamford Bridge in the summer, as Roman Abramovich sought to overhaul an ageing squad in west London, by bringing in a number of the game's most promising young talents.

Chelsea completed a £20million deal for Oscar, adding to a growing contingent of Brazilians at the club, with David Luiz, Ramires, and academy product Lucas Piazon already plying their trades with the Premier League outfit.

However, their intentions to make another big-money move for Neymar have been dashed after Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro's latest revelations.

"When I met the lawyers and his agent, it was almost certain he would be sold to Chelsea but I left an empty seat in the meeting," he told ESPN Brasil.

"I said that the last one that sat there was Ayrton Senna, the last Brazilian idol. And that Neymar could be the next one.

"Nowadays Neymar sits there and he needs to stay happy in the place where he is happy. I believe he will stay even beyond 2014."

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