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The Peixe hope to prove that the No.10 is a free agent in order to complete a lucrative deal, which would provide cover should Ganso choose to leave the club

Santos are holding out hope that Boca Juniors playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme will join Neymar and Ganso in Vila Belmiro, with reports from Sao Paulo suggesting that negotiations have already begun with the Argentine veteran.

Lance! reports that the 34-year-old has been approached by representatives of the 2011 Copa Libertadores winners, who would be keen to add a new creative force if Ganso decides to leave the club.

According to the newspaper, talks started at the end of July, and an outside investor is being sought to help bankroll a lucrative contract for the player.

The former Barcelona and Villarreal man would stand to earn up to €130,000 ($160,000) a month with the Peixe, with bonuses and commercial endorsements adding a further €196,000 ($240,000).

The move is complicated by the fact that the Brazilian transfer window closed at the end of July, but a Santos director revealed that Roman has an "ace up his sleeve" in order to make the move reality.

If Santos can prove that Riquelme terminated his Boca contract prior to July 20, the club would be free to make an approach and sign the player in 2012.

His current contract situation in Buenos Aires is unknown, but he announced after the Copa Libertadores final defeat to Corinthians that he would not represent the club again.

Riquelme has been widely linked with a transfer to Brazil over the winter, although interest from Flamengo and Cruzeiro previously failed to materialise.