The Brazil international recently completed his move to Barcelona, but he could very well have ended up in Serie A if things had gone differently in 2011
The Turin giants had given Zavaglia a mandate to negotiate a deal for the Brazil international and he quickly reached an agreement with the Sao Paulo side.
However, the move eventually fell through due to Santos' Copa Libertadores success.
"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.
He added, "We reached an agreement over a transfer fee of 35m euros. 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."
The 21-year-old stayed put at Santos for two more seasons before eventually leaving the club for Barcelona this summer in a deal worth 57m euros.