LONDON: Chelsea are reportedly close to signing Brazilian midfield starlet Neymar, who could join compatriot and fellow international Ramires at Stamford Bridge.
Midfielder Ramires is expected to be announced as the club`s latest signing on Thursday or Friday, when he completes a 22 million euros move from Portuguese side Benfica.
The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday that Chelsea are also set to offer Neymar`s Brazilian club Santos 25 million pounds (30.3 million euros) for the highly-rated 18-year-old.
The newspaper said Neymar has a 29.6 million pounds (35.9 million euros) buy-out clause in his contract, and although Chelsea will not go that high they could tempt the club into releasing the player.
Both Ramires and Neymar played in a recent friendly win over the United States in New Jersey, where Neymar scored one of the two goals in the 2-0 win.
Neymar was close to being selected for the World Cup in South Africa in June, but missed out despite playing a significant role in Brazil`s qualifying campaign.
Ramires, 23, has 16 caps for Brazil and played at the World Cup where Brazil exited the competition after defeat to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
He is being seen as a replacement for German international Michael Ballack who was released, along with Joe Cole, earlier in the summer.
Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has already replaced Cole with former Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun.
BDST:1622HRS, August 12, 2010