Costa to join Tianjin in summer: reports

Chelsea's Diego Costa is rumoured to be moving to the Chinese Super League in a £76 million (S$138.1 million) deal to play for Tianjin Quanjian. If he signs, the fee will eclipse the £71 million Shanghai Shenhua paid for Carlos Tevez last year.
Chelsea's Diego Costa is rumoured to be moving to the Chinese Super League in a £76 million (S$138.1 million) deal to play for Tianjin Quanjian. If he signs, the fee will eclipse the £71 million Shanghai Shenhua paid for Carlos Tevez last year.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Diego Costa is ready to leave Chelsea this summer and move to the Chinese Super League in a £76 million (S$138.1 million) deal, according to reports in Spain.

Tianjin Quanjian are ready to make the striker the most expensive player in the league, paying him about £25 million a year.

The fee would beat the £71 million that Shanghai Shenhua paid for Argentinian forward Carlos Tevez.

Spanish TV station Cadena Ser reported that Costa has agreed to join Tianjin and the club have agreed terms with two or three star players.

Shu Yuhui, the Tianjin owner, was reported as saying: "The only thing I can reveal is that we have agreed terms with two or three stars. The players have no problem with the deals and their clubs are also willing to let them leave.

"The only issue that remains unresolved is reaching agreements with their respective clubs over the transfer fees. However, if some clubs are intent on taking advantage of us, we won't allow ourselves to get ripped off. We won't lose our mind."

Costa, 28, was seen with player agent Jorge Mendes and people believed to be Tianjin representatives at a London restaurant last week.

The striker's future has been a cause of constant speculation over the last few months, with the Spaniard doing little to help silence the rumours.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said yesterday that he has not discussed the issue with Costa.

"I don't know about this, I have not discussed the future with Costa," said Conte. "It is important for every single player to work for Chelsea, to focus on the present."

Earlier, Tianjin released a statement to try and calm the speculation. "With regard to the widespread rumours that Diego Costa is expected to join Tianjin Quanjian, our club want to clarify that we have not been communicating with Diego Costa regarding the transfer," the club said.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline 'Costa to join Tianjin in summer: reports'. Print Edition | Subscribe