Tianjin Quanjian publicly states interest in acquiring Chelsea's Diego Costa but outlines main obstacle

Club's owner says timing isn't right at present

BY Raf Diallo 13:50 Tuesday 17 January 2017, 13:50 17 Jan 2017

Chelsea's Diego Costa celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and West Ham at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The Chinese club linked with Chelsea striker Diego Costa have confirmed they want to sign the player.

Tianjin Quanjian's owner Shu Yuhui says the Premier League side want to hold on to Costa until the summer and that has blocked a deal.

The forward was dropped by Stamford Bridge boss Antonio Conte ahead of their win at Leicester at the weekend, amid reports that he had become unsettled.

It is understood Spain international Costa has been offered £30 million a year in China.

Speaking to Tianjin Sports Channel, Yuhui said: "Chelsea would only let him leave in June. However, the new season of CSL will almost reach the halfway stage in June, we can't wait so long."

The newly promoted Chinese Super League club have signed Belgium international midfielder Axel Witsel and installed former Italy World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro as manager.

But it is a striker that the club craves ahead of the new season.

"We need an out-and-out striker so we made a bid for Benzema. We also made an attempt for Falcao," said Yunhui.

"As a matter of fact, the club had even prepared the contracts for Falcao and Raul Jimenez. We had already reached agreement with them on wages and bonus.

"The pair were expected to sign the contracts, but the new rules forced us to give up on them."

Yunhui also added that the club's transfer plans have also been affected by the league's decision to restrict the use of foreign players.

Chinese Super League teams will only be able to play three foreign players in matches from the start of their new season.

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