Chelsea handed £35m lifeline over Samba starlet

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Santos starlet Neymar insists a deal to sign for Barcelona has not been done, offering hope to Chelsea.

The Blues are known to be long-term admirers of the 19-year-old, with manager Andre Villas-Boas highlighting the Brazilian following his arrival in west London back in June.

However, speculation has continued to link the 15-cap international with a move to the Nou Camp, and despite the player facing-off against Pep Guardiola's side in the FIFA Club World Cup final last week, Neymar has again strenuously denied claims that the move is agreed.

"I have been sold to different people since I was 10 years old. Now I am on holiday from Santos, Barca and Real Madrid! Now I am just here to play this game," he said.

"Not even five months ago I signed a new contract."

Despite his claims of staying in Brazil until 2014, few believe that Santos will be able to keep hold of one of world football's prized assets.

The news that a reported £35 million move to Spain has not been completed will be a boost to Chelsea, who may have feared the teenager was out of reach heading into 2012.

However, Villas-Boas will have his chance to try and bring the player to Stamford Bridge should he wish, although a similar big-money bid will be needed for Chelsea to secure the player's services.

With speculation rife over the future of Fernando Torres at the club, as well as striker Didier Drogba leaving for the African Nations Cup and Nicolas Anelka departing for China, a striker would seem like a logical addition for the club in January.

A defender has also already been highlighted as a required addition, with discussions over a move for Gary Cahill already taking place, suggesting money is available to the Chelsea boss in a crucial month for AVB.

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