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It’s undeniable that Neymar is one of the best players in the world right now.
You would think that most managers would love to have him in their team.
But not Antonio Conte according to Tuttosport.
The Turin-based newspaper claims that Roman Abramovich offered the Barcelona superstar to his coach in a meeting over dinner after the 2-1 victory over Stoke City last Saturday.
The Russian billionaire has reportedly reached an agreement with the Catalan side to sign the Brazilian for €180million (£155.5million).
But Conte is thought to want to pursue other Chelsea transfer targets this summer.
Is the Italian wrong to not want Neymar? We take a look at what he could have brought to Stamford Bridge.
How does Neymar compare to Chelsea’s attack?
If Neymar did arrive at Stamford Bridge, you would expect him to become part of Conte’s front three in the 3-4-3.
At Barcelona, he plays on the left of a front three, which is where Eden Hazard currently plays.
But both players are good enough to be able to play anywhere across the front line.
And we have had a look at the Brazilian’s league statistics compared to Chelsea’s first choice trio – Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given he plays at the head of the formation, Costa has the best goals per 90 minutes rate of any of the quartet.
The naturalised Spaniard has 0.66 goals every 90 minutes, followed by Hazard at 0.46 and Pedro at 0.42.
Neymar is bottom of the list in terms of goal scoring, managing an average of just 0.35 goals every 90 minutes in LaLiga.
That works out as 0.75 goals the Brazilian is directly involved in per 90 minutes, compared to Hazard’s 0.63, Pedro’s 0.84 and Costa’s 0.86.
While the Barcelona star doesn’t lead the way in terms of goals or assists, he is ahead of the Chelsea trio in terms of chances created.
Per 90 minutes, the 25-year-old creates considerably more – 3.04 – than Hazard (2.26), Pedro (1.01) or Costa (0.98).
He also makes more key passes per 90 minutes than any of the Blues men – 2.64 compared to Hazard’s 2.09, Pedro’s 1.01 or Costa’s 0.98.
But his shot accuracy is less than 50 per cent – both Hazard and Costa average 59 per cent of their efforts on target.
And Compared to Hazard and Pedro, Neymar also falls short in terms of pass completion and successful take ons.
Neymar makes just 76 per cent of his passes, compared to Hazard’s 84 per cent and Pedro’s 83 per cent.
And in terms of take ons, the Brazilian’s success rate is 62 per cent – considerably lower than the Belgian’s 78.43 per cent and the Spaniard’s 68.97 per cent.
End of Hazard at Chelsea?
If Abramovich is offering Neymar to Chelsea, could that mean that Hazard is on his way out?
Indeed, as abovementioned, the Brazilian and the Belgian play in the same position.
And Hazard has been linked to Real Madrid as part of a sensational swap deal, and most players find it hard to turn down a move to the Spanish side.
READ MORE: Analysing Potential Chelsea And Real Madrid Swap Deal
The 26-year-old said back in November he would only leave the Blues after they won the title.
“If I ever leave, it’ll be after winning a championship,” he said.
“You need to go out on a high so that people remember you for the right reasons.”
And with Chelsea set to win the league, perhaps Abramovich is keen on lining up a big name to appease fans after letting one of their biggest players go.
Can Chelsea afford Neymar?
With the money raised from the departure of Óscar to the Chinese Super League in January combined with their Nike deal, you would imagine Chelsea were one of the richest clubs around at the moment.
What’s more, should they sell Hazard, there would be no question of the funding for Neymar.
READ MORE: Neymar Is Becoming As Important To Barcelona As Lionel Messi
But even if Hazard didn’t leave Stamford Bridge, the hype and finances that will come into the club as a result of them buying the world’s most expensive player – and that is what Neymar would be – would surely make it attractive to the Blues.
Abramovich has also never broken the world transfer record – perhaps he would like to do so to show that Chelsea well and truly are back among the big boys after a disastrous title defence.
Why has Antonio Conte supposedly turned down Neymar?
READ MORE: How Antonio Conte Has Tactically Evolved Chelsea
With Chelsea battling on more than one front next season, it’s undeniable they will need a larger squad.
José Mourinho will tell you that one of the main reasons that the Blues sit top of the Premier League is their lack of continental football.
And while that is not the only reason, it has played a part.
Chelsea will be expected to compete in the Champions League next season, and Conte will have to expand on the 13 or so players he has relied on this season
If Neymar came to Chelsea for the fee quoted by Tuttosport, you would expect it to be a large chunk, if not all of their transfer budget.
And Conte obviously recognises that the Blues need strengthening across the pitch, rather than just signing a glamour player, even if he would be an exciting arrival.