Real Madrid star Dani Carvajal has denied reports in China that he is set to move to Guangzhou Evergrande in January as part of a swap deal with defender Zhang Linpeng. Speaking after the 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday night (23 September), the Spain international laughed off the rumours and confirmed he is happy with Rafa Benitez's side.
Guangzhou Evergrande have a football school in China affiliated with Real Madrid and the visit of a Chinese businessman to the Spanish capital earlier this month sparked speculations over a potential deal between the clubs. Spanish newspaper AS quoted Chinese government TV station CCTV5 as saying that Los Blancos had reached an agreement to sign Linpeng on loan ahead of the January transfer window after a rumoured move to Chelsea fell apart in the summer.
Later reports went further, suggested that Carvajal would be loaned out to Guangzhou until the end of the season as part of the deal.
The Spanish right-back's future at the Santiago Bernabeu was under scrutiny over the summer after the signing of Danilo from Porto. Carvajal, however, took advantage of an injury to the Brazilian to establish himself as a fixture in Benitez's first XI so far.
Asked about the rumours linking him to Guangzhou Evergrande, he said to AS: "I have read those reports and my first reaction to laugh.
"It's a funny story, but not true. This is my home and I'm very happy here. I hope Danilo recovers soon because he will bring many things to our side. The manager trusts in me now and I am trying to respond to that confidence with good performances."
Zhang Linpeng, nevertheless, may still move to the Santiago Bernabeu during the January transfer window after being very close to Chelsea in the summer. An Evergrande official confirmed to Xinhua that the Blues tried to secure his services: "We did receive an offer from Chelsea, [to] which we have attached great importance."
The deal, however, collapsed due to the difficulties related to getting a work permit to play in England – with Chelsea instead completing the signings of Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji and Michael Hector on deadline day, although the latter was sent back on loan to Reading until the end of the campaign.