?Roberto Mancini has ludicrously suggested that Zenit St.Petersburg were also interested in enticing PSG-bound Neymar away from Barcelona.

The Italian, who now manages in Russia, was speaking to the press ahead of his side’s Europa League third round qualifying second-leg outing against Israel’s Bnei Yehuda when he was quizzed on the subject.

Neymar was granted leave to depart Barcelona’s training camp and head to Paris ahead of completing a world-record £198m transfer to the Ligue 1 giants and, in quotes published on ?Zenit’s own website, Mancini claimed that his club were also interested in prising him away from the Nou Camp.

He remarked: “We also wanted to buy Neymar, but unfortunately PSG beat us to him.

“There is nothing unusual about this. Many clubs buy football players from Latin America, many clubs buy Brazilian players during the transfer window. 

“We had an opportunity to buy some young, promising and very talented players. It so happened that most of them are from Argentina. I hope that they will help us win in our upcoming matches, I’m very glad that they have joined us.”

Neymar’s future had become the biggest topic of discussion among football fans as speculation over a possible switch to France grew throughout the past couple of weeks.

The Brazil international had kept quiet as various media outlets continued to allege that it was only a matter of time before he left La Blaugrana after four years in Catalunya, but a training ground bust up with Nelson Semedo only further stoked those fires.

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Media reports on Tuesday hinted that a move could be imminent as PSG begun making preparations for a huge unveiling of Neymar at the Place du Trocadero and, with news now confirming Neymar’s departure, the superstar should complete his big-money transfer by the end of the week.