Diego Costa looks set to stay at Chelsea for the time being following a week of speculation linking him with a move to China.
The striker has been tipped for an £80million move to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian, who were reportedly prepared to pay him £600,000 a week to move to the Far East.
News of their interest reportedly caused a fall-out between Costa and Blues boss Antonio Conte, and although that was quickly denied, his absence against Leicester at the weekend was blamed on a back injury.
However, the Italian boss and the player appeared to have drawn a line under the latest incident, with the player posing for a photo with Chelsea team-mates after training on Thursday. The photo (below) was posted on John Terry’s Instagram account.
It is now thought Costa is in contention to return against Hull this weekend.
And any talk of a move to China appears to be off the agenda for now anyway, after the billionaire owner of Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian appeared to signal the end of their interest.
Discussing the newly-imposed restriction on foreign imports, Shu Yuhui said: “If [the rule] had been ‘4+1’ as in the past, then we would have made a big investment this year, but now it seems to be changed to three.
“This situation has brought a change to our signing plans. The online reports about Costa, it’s true we’d like him, and we made an offer for Cavani and we’re deep in negotiations for him.”
News of the apparent breakdown in Costa’s potential move to China comes as Arsene Wenger issued a warning to Premier League clubs about trying to match the financial power of CSL sides.
Wenger said: “That’s the danger, that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe,” Wenger said, when asked if the money on offer in China could complicate negotiations with top players.
“You cannot compete with that but I still think that, when you’re a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.
“Of course it’s a worry but it happened in Europe before. It also happens when you’re at a smaller club. Sometimes we had periods where we could not financially compete with the bigger clubs who took our players away from us. It can happen inside the country.”