The 21-year-old completed a move to Barcelona this summer, but Franco Zavaglia has revealed that the forward had agreed a deal with the Italian side in 2011.
"I went to Turin to take on the job and discuss a strategy and then left for Sao Paulo with a mandate to sign Neymar. Brazilian football was starting to get richer, but Santos needed the money, so they were ready to cash in on Neymar," Zavaglia told Tuttosport.
"We reached an agreement over a transfer fee £30m. A big number, but that was the player's value at the time. Santos's vice-president was clear that the agreement wouldn't stand if they made it to the next round of the Copa Libertadores, though.
"Unfortunately, Santos progressed and even went on to win the trophy for the first time in 48 years. That gave Santos the financial resources to hold on to Neymar and have him sign a new and improved contract."
Neymar is currently on Confederations Cup duty in his home nation.