Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning have completed the signing of Chelsea midfielder Ramires. The Brazilian international, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Benfica during the summer of 2010, bids farewell to English football after making more than 250 appearances and winning every major honour.
Despite his reputation as a hard-working and energetic presence, however, Ramires had become something of an afterthought since Guus Hiddink was appointed as Jose Mourinho's successor in December 2015. He has started just once since that managerial change, featuring for 90 minutes of the FA Cup third-round victory over Scunthorpe United on 10 January. He was left as an unused substitute during the 2-2 draw with West Brom earlier this month and omitted from the squad altogether for subsequent matches against Everton and Arsenal as John Obi Mikel continued to win favour alongside Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas.
Confirming his exit via their official website, a Chelsea statement read: "Ramires has today joined Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning in a permanent transfer. The 28-year-old departs Stamford Bridge after five-and-a-half years as a Chelsea player, in which time he helped us lift every major domestic and European trophy."
They later added: "We thank him for his service and wish him well in China, where he will be coached by another former Blue, Dan Petrescu."
Ramires only signed a new four-year contract extension in October, yet the financial rewards involved in the deal were evidently too strong to ignore. No official fee has yet been disclosed, although widespread reports – including from the BBC – believe that Jiangsu have paid approximately £25m ($35.7m) to secure the player, which is roughly £8m more than Chelsea paid five-and-a-half years ago.
The Chinese Super League has seen an influx of Brazilians over recent years, with former national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari guiding a Guangzhou Evergrande side containing Robinho, Elkeseon, Ricardo Goulart and former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho to the title in 2015. Kleber, Renato Augusto and Diego Tardelli are among the other Selecao internationals currently plying their trade in the country.
Ramires is the second marquee foreign signing completed by a Chinese club in recent days. On Tuesday (27 January), Hebei China Fortune announced the arrival of ex-Arsenal forward Gervinho from AS Roma.