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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Neymar destined for Premier League

ESPNsoccernet has learned that Brazil's new star Neymar is almost certain to be playing in the Premier League next season.

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Neymar caught the attention of a wider audience when scoring twice in Brazil's friendly win over Scotland on Sunday at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, and it is expected that he will be gracing English stadiums on a more regular basis.

The 19-year-old Santos forward is jointly represented by Brazilian agent Wagner Ribeiro and the influential Pini Zahavi, who is a close associate of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Manchester United believe Neymar could be a potential long-term replacement for Ryan Giggs, but it was Chelsea and Manchester City who were represented at Sunday's game with Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini both in the directors' box to watch Brazil's 2-0 victory.

The three English clubs are among a limited group of elite teams who could afford to sign Neymar from Santos, given his buyout clause currently stands at €45 million (£39.6 million). Chelsea attempted to sign him last summer, only to be rejected by the player as he chose to remain in Brazil.

Neymar has previously expressed his admiration for Italian football in particular but could be warming to England having been given permission by Brazil coach Mano Menezes to remain overnight in London on Sunday while the rest of the squad travelled home.

The player and his entourage were treated to a night out by Ribeiro and Zahavi, who has been given the authorisation to conduct Neymar's international affairs.

After his performance at Arsenal's home ground, Neymar said: "...the stadium is great; the pitch is too. The [English] weather I don't like all that much, but I could get used to it."

Meanwhile, Zahavi told ESPNsoccernet: "Yes, we were all very happy with his performance at the Emirates."


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