Chelsea and Manchester United are in talks to sign two of the stars of Brazil's Rio 2016 Olympic football squad. Santos president Modesto Roma claims to have met with officials from the Premier League giants and Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid to discuss the future of midfielder Thiago Maia and forward Gabigol Barbosa – both of whom are going for gold this summer.
Goal.com understand that the Blues held talks to sign Maia last month, with agent Giuliano Bertolucci having been a mediator in the discussions, and are ready to firm up their interest with a bid. Santos are understood to be demanding €20m (£17.28m) for the 19-year-old, who has been with his club current club since 2011.
Gabigol meanwhile is subject to interest from United, Premier League champions Leicester City and Atletico and is understood to have made Santos aware he wants to move to Europe this summer. Roma appears receptive to the interest from the continent and though offers are yet to be made he admits "productive" talks have taken place.
"We had productive conversations," Roma told Goal.com. "We didn't come to buy or sell players, neither in London or Madrid. We came to build up relationships. There weren't offers, but we did talk about partnerships. I talked to Manchester United, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid."
Both Chelsea and United have a history of bringing Brazilian players to their respective clubs. Oscar, Willian and Kenedy current reside in Antonio Conte's squad while United have Under-23 international Andreas Pereira in their youth ranks having previously had Rafael and Fabio da Silva at the club.
Any deal to bring the Maia or Barbosa to either Chelsea or United will have to wait until after the conclusion of Brazil's Olympic campaign. The Selecao face Columbia in the quarter-final on Sunday [14 August] as the team attempt to win their first ever Olympic title on home soil.
Barbosa has already been given top billing by sections of the media, including ESPN who have compared him to former Santos star Neymar. He scored for the senior team in the Copa America before netting in the crucial group stage win over Denmark at the Olympics to help guide his side into the knock-out phase.