Chelsea became a powerhouse over the years following Roman Abramovich’s purchase of the club in 2003 and have been one of the most successful English clubs in recent years.
Between 2011 and 2021, the West Londoners were named the joint highest-ranking club in the last decade alongside Manchester City collecting a number of trophies including two Champions Leagues, two Europa Leagues and two Premier League titles – amassing a whopping 2113 league points during this period.
The Russian owner’s ambitious nature when it came to transfers was the linchpin in the success at Stamford Bridge with no player seen as unobtainable by the hierarchy over his reign – something that Todd Boehly is clearly trying to emulate with his £600m spending spree over the last two transfer windows.
Despite often getting his own way when it came to signing superstars, it didn’t always work out when Chelsea made an approach for a player with a number of huge talents slipping through the net over the years.
Could Chelsea sign Neymar Jr?
One player who has been recently linked with a move to the London club is Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, but it is not the first time that Chelsea have been in pursuit of the player with Abramovich keen to secure the services of the Brazilian wonder back in 2010 ahead of his move to Barcelona.
The now 31-year-old ace – hailed “exceptional” by former Blues boss Thomas Tuchel – revealed in his autobiography that Chelsea had made a ‘huge transfer bid’ to secure his signature when he was still playing in Brazil for Santos – but was convinced by the late Brazilian legend Pele to stay where he was.
Although – at the time – Neymar decided to stay with Santos, just three years later he made his monumental £49m move to Barcelona which proves that Chelsea dropped the ball in continuing to pursue and convince the player with a move to the Premier League giants following the initial rejection.
Where is Neymar now?
The wide-forward went onto become one of the biggest stars in world football, forming one of the most famous front-line’s in modern football alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp – winning two La Liga titles and a Champions League before completing a £200m world-record transfer to PSG in 2017.
Neymar – who has a reported price tag of €90m (£80m) – is renowned as one of the best in the world and it comes as no surprise he is held in such high regard – often put into conversations with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – as he has scored a whopping 292 goals and registered 187 assists over 491 appearances so far.
There is no doubt that if the Brazil international had joined the Blues back in 2010 it could have been one of the greatest-ever signings in their history, providing even more trophies and success than the club has already seen and would’ve perhaps even still to this day been a source of immeasurable amounts of goal contributions as he continues to thrive in France now.
PSG manager Christophe Galtier has labelled his world-class winger an “artist” when reflecting on his return to form this season after an underwhelming campaign last year:
“He arrived back on time, in great shape, and had worked well beforehand. We wanted to put him in the best possible situation for him to be in the best possible position. He’s an artist, and when he’s on form, you can see that.”
Over the last 12 months, Neymar still ranks in the top 5% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for non-penalty goals, assists, shot-creating actions, passes attempted and progressive passes received, proving he remains one of the most influential and talented players in Europe, showing no signs of slowing down.
With that being said, Abramovich rarely got it wrong at Chelsea but missing out on Neymar could be a decision that haunts the former owner when reflecting on his tenure at the club and it will be interesting to see if Boehly continues to pursue the player in the future.
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