Shanghai Shenhua boss Gus Poyet admits he would "love" to sign wantaway striker Diego Costa from Premier League champions Chelsea, but concedes that the club's existing quota of overseas players renders such a move very difficult to foresee.
The fiery Spaniard was subject to a failed bid from Tianjian Quanjian during the previous transfer window and reports from Cadena Ser have since stated that the two parties have reached a pre-agreement on a lucrative summer deal said to be worth €30m (£25.5m, $32,9m) annually. The club have denied that speculation, however, while Costa recently declared himself the "owner of his future" and stated that does not necessarily mean he will be heading to China.
Shanghai Shenhua certainly have experience with high-profile overseas players, having previously signed the likes of former Chelsea strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka before making an almighty splash in December with the addition of Carlos Tevez.
Colombians Giovanni Moreno and Fredy Guarin and Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins are also currently on the books at Hongkou Football Stadium, in addition to South Korean defender Kim Kee-hee.
New rules introduced for the 2017 Chinese Super League (CSL) season stipulated that teams may now only field a maximum of three overseas players at any one time. Previously, they were permitted to include four foreigners of any nationality plus one player from another Asian country in a matchday squad.
"I would love to but it will be very difficult for us because of the quantity [of non-Chinese players] we have got," Poyet, who spent four years at Chelsea as a player between 1997-2001, told Talksport when asked if he was currently trying to sign Costa. "There are three who are playing.
"There would have to be a massive change to the structure of the club to be able to bring Diego here. I don't know if it's going to happen, I would never say 'no, never', but I would say it would be very difficult for him to come here."
Poyet believes those same rule changes may also have put paid to the prospect of former Chelsea teammate John Terry completing a move to China when he finally calls time on his trophy-laden 22-year stint at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
"If you asked me in December before they changed the rules, I would have said straight away he was coming," he added. "I was 100%. No doubt. Now with the new system, it is a little bit more special to buy a defender. The mentality has changed a lot now because they are always looking for players to make the difference up front - the ones that are going to bring people to the stadium."
Terry made his first league start since September and endured mixed fortunes during Monday night's eventful (15 May) 4-3 home victory over Watford. The long-serving captain put his side in front before a poor clearing header allowed Etienne Capoue to restore parity just two minutes later.