Oscar goes to China as Chelsea accept stunning £60million bid
Chelsea have accepted a stunning £60million bid to take midfielder Oscar to China in January from the club’s former manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Oscar has told his Chelsea team-mates that he is moving to China, where he will link up with Villas-Boas at Shanghai SIPG, having fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge under head coach Antonio Conte.
Jiangsu Suning, who made an offer to sign Oscar last summer, and Guangzhou Evergrande, managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari, also showed an interest but Shanghai are now completing the formalities to land the 25-year-old.
Chelsea could not refuse £60m for Oscar, who they signed from Brazilian club Internacional for £25m in 2012, and he becomes the most expensive player to leave the club – beating the £50m the Blues received for David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain in 2014.
Villas-Boas was appointed manager of Shanghai SIPG at the start of November and already has two Brazilians, Hulk and Elkeson, in his squad. The Portuguese tried to sign Oscar for Tottenham Hotspur before he joined Chelsea and has remained a big fan of the player.
This will be the second successive year in which Chelsea have sold one of their Brazilians to China for big money, having recouped over £20m from Jiangsu Suning for Ramires last January.
Ramires managed to double the salary he was paid at Chelsea by moving to China on a £10m-a-year-deal and Oscar is expected to earn almost £350,000-a-week at Shanghai
Oscar started the first five Premier League games of the season under Conte, but lost his place after the home defeat to Liverpool. Since that game and the successful switch in formation Oscar has only started in the League Cup tie against West Ham United, which Chelsea lost.
He was not in the squad for last weekend’s victory over West Bromwich Albion due to illness and could well have played his last game for the Blues. During his four-and-a-half years at Chelsea, Oscar has won the Premier League, Europa League and League Cup, making over 200 appearances.
The prospect of Oscar moving to China in January increases the likelihood of Cesc Fabregas, who has come back into the reckoning over recent weeks, staying at Stamford Bridge for at least the rest of the season.
Asked about the future of Fabregas ahead of Wednesday night’s Premier League game against Sunderland, Conte said: “Cesc is an important player for us.
“He played a key match against Manchester City and played very well. In the last match, he came on very well during the game. I have still to decide the starting XI, but Cesc is always a good choice, for me. He is an important player and in the squad of Chelsea. Now this is the reality.”
Conte, though, stopped short of promising Fabregas will stay put in January by saying: “In football, in my experience, it's very difficult to guarantee something, so this is difficult.” Conte was already planning to try to bolster his midfield options in January and selling Oscar will only strengthen his desire to do so.
Italian reports have this week claimed that Chelsea are lining up a £19m bid for AC Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura, who the Serie A club want to tie down to a new contract.
Chelsea looked at Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic in the summer and the Croatian has signed a new contract with the Italians that contains a £42m release clause. Chelsea have confirmed that defender Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract and Conte said: “He’s impressed me a lot with his commitment, his work-rate, his ability to play also in different roles.”