After the departures of Ramires, Oscar, and Mikel to China, Chelsea are widely expected to lose another player to the emerging financial football power of the Chinese Super League, as Tianjin Quanjian remain undeterred in their pursuit of a world-class striker.
Last winter the CSL side failed in their attempts to acquire any of their big-name targets, failing with bids for Diego Costa, PSG’s Edinson Cavani and Real Madrid's Karim Benzema. But whether it’s the same three or not who are being targeted again, Tianjin chairman Shu Yuhui remains unfazed.
"As far as I’m concerned, our club looks certain to buy a powerful foreign striker and a quality homegrown defender. The recruitment of the Chinese defender is a done deal, but right now we cannot reveal his identity in accordance with the relevant provisions."
"As for the foreign imports, three stars have been nailed down by our club and we will choose to buy one. The club’s representatives are working on the deal. And I will absolutely honour my promise to the fans that the new striker will be, without a doubt, a world-class player."
After failing to acquire any of the three in the winter, Tianjin recruited former Chelsea forward Alexandre Pato instead, who has provided his new team with 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 appearances. Still, they have only managed to translate that into 2 wins in the 7 Super League games so far this season, thus failing to meet the huge expectations of their owner.
“As a promoted team, it’s rather difficult to get results against those CSL heavyweights, but we expected more. What if we have a powerful foreign striker? We could have won all of the three games [that we lost against the three top sides].”
-Shu Yuhui; source: Tianjin Today Evening News via Goal.com
For Tianjin to convince Chelsea or any other top European club to sell one of their main players, they are well aware that transfer records will need to be broken. This should not be an issue for them, but it could be a problem for us if we are unable to secure a proper replacement for Diego.