Chelsea midfielder Oscar is 90% sure he will seal a lucrative switch to China. The 25-year-old has once again caught the attention of former Blues and Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas, with widespread reports on Tuesday (13 December) claiming that Chinese Super League (CSL) contenders Shanghai SIPG have seen an eye-watering £60m ($76.1m) bid for his services accepted ahead of the January transfer window.
Oscar has found regular first-team football somewhat difficult to come by under Antonio Conte, playing just 11 times across all competitions during the Italian's first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's incredibly successful switch to the manager's preferred 3-4-3 system has certainly not helped matters. The Brazil international, who started the first five Premier League matches of the season before losing his place following a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool in September, having featured only sporadically as a late substitute during an impressive run of nine consecutive victories that has seen Conte's in-form side climb from eighth to first.
"It's 90% right," Oscar told SporTV of those rumours regarding a big-money move to East Asia. "It just depends on some bureaucratic details."
Shanghai SIPG, second- and third-place finishers over the past two years, hired Villas-Boas to replace ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson last month on a deal believed to be worth £11m-per-year. The Portuguese, who left Zenit Saint Petersburg at the end of last season, is a known admirer of Oscar, having previously tried to sign him for Spurs before Chelsea eventually sealed a £25m deal with Internacional in July 2012.
This is not the first time that former Inter Milan and Juventus target Oscar has been subject of interest from China. The player's agent, Giuliano Bertolucci, told ESPN Brasil in February that Chelsea had rejected an offer from Jiangsu Suning, then managed by former Blues full-back Dan Petrescu, believed to be worth in the region of £58m. It would have reunited him with compatriot and former teammate Ramires, who completed his own £25m move to Nanjing in January. Luiz Felipe Scolari's reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande have also been linked with his signature.
Oscar is the latest reasonably high-profile European-based player to join a cash-rich Chinese club as part of the country's ambitious attempt to become a global football superpower by 2050. Jackson Martinez, Alex Teixeira, Paulinho, Ramires, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Graziano Pelle and Gervinho are just some of those that have made similar moves, while Shanghai SIPG initially demonstrated their own significant spending power in June after breaking the Asian transfer record with a £46.1m swoop for Zenit striker Hulk.
Oscar has made 203 appearances during his four-year stint at Chelsea, although is not expected to play against rock-bottom Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday. He missed the recent 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion due to illness.