Santos' Thiago Maia keen on Paris Saint-Germain move

Santos defensive midfielder Thiago Maia has told ESPN Brasil he "identifies" himself more with Paris Saint-Germain than he does with the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Maia, a 2016 Olympic gold medallist, is highly rated and a number of big European clubs are reported to be interested in him, including Chelsea.

However, the 19-year-old said he hopes he will one day join close friend Marquinhos at Parc des Princes.

"A lot of players say they want to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona but I identify myself with PSG," Maia added. "Contact? Not yet but I hope it happens one day.

"As I said, I identify myself with PSG and I have friends there. Marquinhos has told me what the club is like. It is clear he is happy there.

"If I go there one day, I will be very happy. I am leaving my future in the hands of my mother and my manager though."

Maia won the Campeonato Paulista with Santos this year and was voted into the league's team of the year.

Although uncapped by Brazil at senior level yet, he has featured for the under-17s and U20s, as well as the Olympic U23 side.

Maia does not hold a European passport, so would count as one of PSG's four allotted non-EU players if he does sign. The French champions have had a space free since David Luiz left the capital club to return to Chelsea this summer.