Luiz Felipe Scolari insists that Guangzhou Evergrande have not made any offer for Arda Turan amid renewed claims that the Barcelona midfielder could follow the likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar and Axel Witsel and become the latest high-profile player to join China's lucrative football revolution.
Catalan daily Sport reported on Monday (16 January) that Turan's agent, Ahmet Bulut, met club officials last week to inform them of ongoing Chinese Super League (CSL) interest in his client. It was further stated that Guangzhou might be set to table an offer worth €50m (£43.3m, $53.4m) for the Turkish international, who could stand to earn as much as €20m-per-year in the Far East. It was not completely clear whether such rumours concern Evergrande or city rivals Guangzhou R&F.
Scolari has now flatly denied such speculation, claiming that he is not chasing any new overseas signings following a rule change set to take effect during the 2017 campaign that will see CSL clubs only able to field three foreign players at one time.
Managers were previously allowed to include four players from any country plus one player from Asia, but those regulations have now been amended partly in an effort to address "recent irrational investments by clubs, high-figure transfer fees and salaries paid to domestic and international athletes" as the Chinese Football Association (CFA) attempts to safeguard and promote homegrown talent. The CFA previously outlined its strategy to become a world football superpower by 2050.
"Evergrande have not made any offer for Arda Turan or any other foreign player," former Chelsea boss Scolari was quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo.
This is not the first time that Turan has been linked with a potential move to China. The 29-year-old was previously a target for Beijing Guoan and revealed in October that Barcelona had rejected an initial €50m bid for his services last season.