Furious Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic will refuse to let leading scorer Diego Costa force his way out of Stamford Bridge this month, according to a report in Italy.
Sports newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport said this afternoon the Russian oligarch has backed Italian manager Antonio Conte in the dispute with the Brazilian forward, whom it is feared wants to take up a big-money move to Tianjin Quanjian.
La Gazetta quotes an interview given by Shu Yuhui to the Tianjian Sports Channel in which the owner of the Chinese club confirms he has had talks with Costa's representative, super agent Jorge Mendes.
“Mendes was at my house a few days ago,” Mr Shu reportedly told the sports broadcaster.
“We have an idea about his [Costa] future. The contracts are ready. The figures are right. Now we will continue to wait but at the end of the market [January] we could also take someone else.
“We have identified a series of targets in attack. We have made an offer for [Real Madrid's Karim] Benzema.
"We have previously made an approach for [PSG's Edinson] Cavani, but if they change the rules in China, things could go differently.”
The report in La Gazetta goes on to repeat rumours Chelsea have lined up Madrid's Alvaro Morata, Everton's former Blue Romelu Lukaku and even Arsenal schemer Alexis Sanchez as potential replacements for Spanish international Costa.
With January transfer speculation going haywire there is also mention Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are waiting in the wings if Costa's projected move to China falls through.
There's and even a repeat of a piece run on Spain's Cadena COPE radio stating Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is desperate to switch to Real Madrid.
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app. You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.