Diego Costa: Chinese Super League Owner Confirms Interest in Chelsea Star

Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge, London, December 31 2016. Costa has been linked with a move to China. Ian Kington/AFP/Getty

Shu Yuhui, the billionaire owner of Chinese Super League team Tianjin Quanjian, has confirmed interest in signing Chelsea's Diego Costa.

Costa, 28, is the joint leading scorer in this season's English Premier League but he was left out of Chelsea's squad for the win at Leicester City on Saturday following a reported row with manager Antonio Conte and the club's fitness coaches.

Following that victory, which took Chelsea seven points clear at the top of the table, Conte dismissed reports linking Costa with a move to China.

But in quotes reported by the South China Morning Post, Yuhui revealed Quanjian's interest in Costa was genuine.

"The online reports about Costa, it's true we'd like him, and we made an offer for [Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson] Cavani and were deep in negotiations," Yuhui said. "We couldn't afford to wait half a season," Yuhui continued, suggesting Chelsea was unwilling to let Costa go in January.

Yuhui was pictured Friday with Jorge Mendes, Costa's agent, holding a Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid shirt.

Costa has been training on his own, with Chelsea reportedly keen to hold on to one of its prize assets until the summer transfer window.