Chelsea and Real Madrid will have to accept increased competition for the signature of Brazilian ace Neymar after Santos confirmed that five clubs have expressed a definite interest in the 19-year-old.
According to the Brazilian club, which recently lifted the Copa Libertadores trophy, five clubs have met the €45 million (£40.3 million) release clause in the forward’s contract.
While the interest of Chelsea and Madrid has been widely documented in recent weeks, the other clubs in the hunt for the player’s service are believed to be Manchester City, Barcelona and Russian Premier Liga outfit Anzhi Maakhachkala.
While the Russians would be an outside bet to land the South American, they will be hoping that their current Brazilian contingent, which includes former Real left back Roberto Carlos, will tempt Neymar to join their ranks.
Wherever the player ends up, he is likely to see his new club’s odds on winning their respective leagues slashed.
As such, football betting enthusiasts could be tempted to back their side before any deal is agreed.
Chelsea are seen as a 12/5 bet with bwin to wrestle the Premier League crown back from Manchester united, while Roberto Mancini’s City side are priced at 7/2 to achieve the feat.
Madrid are priced at 13/10 to lift the La Liga crown and will hope that acquiring the services of Neymar, who has hit 27 goals in 63 appearances for Santos, will help them close the gap on champions Barcelona.
Even without the Brazil ace to call on, the Catalans are 57/100 favourites to hold onto their crown.
New Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas seems to be the manager with the biggest need to bolster his attacking options.
The ex-Porto coach is currently reliant on an ageing trio of players to carry his sides goal threat.
Didier Drogba is seen as the club’s most likely goal threat, with bwin pricing the Ivorian at 14/1 to be the Premier League’s top scorer, and Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard are seen as 33/1 and 40/1 bets respectively.
Even so, the Stamford Bridge outfit are expected to be among the league’s high fliers, with bwin offering odds of 11/100 on the Blues finishing in the top four and thus qualifying for a Champions League berth.
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