Brazilian striker Neymar da Silva was identified by Chelsea’s as a main transfer target several months ago, but they may yet be outbid by Real Madrid in the chase for the teenager’s signature.

Neymar’s club, Santos, have reportedly had an offer of nearly £40m from Real Madrid, leaving Chelsea to match the offer or lose the young striker.

After reports in Spain on Tuesday stated that a deal to take Neymar to Madrid was near completion, an inside was quoted as saying: “If Chelsea will not pay €45m he will go to Real.”

Neymar is Chelsea’s prime summer target, so to miss out on a forward who has scored three goals in five Brazil appearances would cause severe frustration for the owner, Roman Abramovich. Whether the billionaire would be prepared to pay nearly £40m for a player who only made his first-team debut in 2009 and is an unproven force in European football is questionable as Chelsea were not prepared tocomment. Asked if there was sense that the Russian would be prepared to finance the deal, the source said: “No. €45m is a lot for a boy of 19.”

The west London club are still searching for a successor to Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked last month. Guus Hiddink, the Turkey coach, is thought to be the favourite, and despite consistent denials from the Dutchman, the announcement of the Turkish Football Federation president, Mahmut Ozgener, that he would not seek re-election increased speculation today that Hiddink would take charge.