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Aug 16, 2010

Chelsea chairman Buck rejects Neymar accusations

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has strongly denied allegations that the Premier League champions have illegally approached Santos star Neymar.

• Santos to make FIFA complaint

Last week it was reported that Buck and agent Pini Zahavi had met with the player and his representative in New York to agree personal terms ahead of a move to Stamford Bridge this summer.

However, Santos have rejected a £20 million offer from Chelsea for the 18-year-old forward - who has a release clause of £29 million - and have threatened to report the Blues to FIFA for what they describe as "harassment".

Buck has firmly denied that Chelsea are guilty of tapping up the player, though he has admitted that the player is a target for coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"There was no tapping up from Chelsea and I want to be clear on that," Buck told talkSPORT. "We are looking at several young Brazilian players and he is one of the players we have been looking at. Whether he becomes a Chelsea player at some point, who knows?

"We are still looking at some things, whether they happen or not I don't know. Carlo is happy and confident with the squad we have. If there is another player or two - great, if not we're fine with what we have."

Chelsea were fined by the Premier League in 2005 for tapping up Arsenal defender Ashley Cole, while their conduct in signing Gael Kakuta from Lens in 2007 was also called into question when FIFA found them guilty of inducing the player to break his contract and banned the club from making signings for a period of two transfer windows. However, Chelsea successfully appealed against the punishment.

Regarding Cole, who remains at Stamford Bridge despite strong interest from Real Madrid this summer, Buck has said that the club will work with the player to help improve his public image. Cole was repeatedly booed by England fans during the country's 2-1 win over Hungary last week.

"I think Ashley is fine," Buck said. "He is great around the club, is polite and helpful. We're not involved in his private life but we support him to a certain extent if we can.

"You would be unhappy too if you got the treatment he is getting by the media. He doesn't like that but I don't think it will be any different if he was in Spain or Italy.

"He has just got to work a little bit, with our help, on improving his image. He is a great player and everyone loves to watch him play and we just look forward like that. We do [rally around him] at executive level, as do the other players and management. We will do the best we can."

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