Tianjin Quanjian reiterate that they have had zero contact with Chelsea striker Diego Costa's camp over the past six months. The Chinese Super League (CSL) outfit were reported to have failed with a January approach for his services and it has since been claimed that a pre-agreement has been struck for the fiery Brazilian-born Spaniard to join during the summer.
Spanish radio station Cadena Ser speculated earlier this month that Costa, who has struck 21 goals across all competitions so far this term as Antonio Conte's side seek to complete a Premier League/FA Cup double, and Tianjin had settled on an agreement believed to be worth a cool €30m-a-year (£25.9m, $33.6m). The overall transfer was rumoured to be valued at £76m.
Tianjin owner Shu Yuhui revealed that a foreign world-class striker would likely be introduced amid links to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Nikola Kalinic of Fiorentina, although a statement from the club denied any communications with Costa over a transfer.
That has done preciously little to quell speculation over an imminent exit from west London, however, and it has now been reported that former employers Atletico Madrid are once again tracking the 28-year-old despite having secured a verbal agreement to sign prolific Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Speaking again regarding Costa on Tuesday (23 May), Tianjin, as reported by football.london, said: "For the past six months, our club have not involved in any form of communication and negotiation with Diego Costa nor his representatives.
Tianjin also stated an intention to avoid any "overpriced signings" in part to adhere to a series of new regulations introduced by the Chinese Football Association in January in order to curb irrational spending and promote homegrown talent. CSL clubs are now only permitted to field three overseas players at one time, whereas previously they were allowed to play five – one of whom had to be from another Asia-based country.
"Our club will draw up a rational transfer plan as an aim to improve the spectator experience of the Chinese Super League and meet its sustainability demands," Tianjin added. "We won't take part in any unhealthy competition, thus preventing all overpriced signings."
Eduardo signs new deal
In other Chelsea news, Eduardo has agreed to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge by a further 12 months. The Portuguese veteran arrived from Dinamo Zagreb on a one-year contract in August 2016 and failed to make a single appearance in any competition as Conte's third-choice goalkeeper behind Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic.
"I am very happy to stay at Chelsea for another year," he said. "This season has been very successful for the club, and everybody has made me feel like a part of the family. I hope next season can be just as positive and we can win many more trophies."
Technical director Michael Emenalo described Eduardo as a model professional and a "reliable, popular and respected member of the squad" who had "used his wealth of experience at the top level to bring the very best from his fellow goalkeepers".