Tianjin Quanjian owner drops big hint over Diego Costa future

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Diego Costa has edged closer to staying at Chelsea until the end of the season after Tianjin Quanjian owner Shu Yuhui admitted a deal for the forward has been scuppered by a new Chinese Super League ruling.

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The forward had been the subject of interest from Tianjin, who were looking to bring in a star striker ahead of the new Chinese Super league season, which starts in March. His apparent willingness to negotiate a move led to a major falling out with Antonio Conte; the result of which saw him dropped from the Chelsea squad for the weekend trip to face Leicester City- a game that the Blues won 3-0.

But despite talk of a lucrative deal to take the unsettled Costa to the Far East, the club’s owner, Shu, suggested that the move has fallen through after it was decided that teams could only field three foreign players during any one game. With Tianjin currently possessing several other non-Chinese squad members, they would struggle to find room in their squad for another- even for someone of the 28-year-old’s class.

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“This situation has brought a change to our signing plans,” Shu told the South China Morning Post.

“The online reports about Costa – it’s true we’d like him, and we made an offer for Cavani and were deep in negotiations.”

It is understood that Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani was also close to agreeing a switch to Tianjin, however, that particular transfer broke down due to the Ligue 1 side’s reluctance to sell half-way through the season.

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“We couldn’t afford to wait half a season,” Shu added.

“We continue to wait and suffer, but at the end of the day we’ll get someone. We have targeted a lot of strikers, and made an offer for Benzema, but with this policy change, we are very helpless.”

Costa is now likely to remain at Stamford Bridge until the end of the current campaign, where he will be expected to aid Chelsea’s title charge.

Former club Atletico Madrid are also known to have a long-standing interest in the controversial forward.

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