The intertwined fates of Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku, and Tammy Abraham

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino looks dejected as Chelsea manager Antonio Conte gestures

Costa was in superb form at the start of the season as he bagged 15 goals in the first half of the campaign, but his form has dropped drastically since the offer from China in January.

"I can only say that we are still working on the deal [to sign Costa]".

Sky Sports are among those reporting that Tianjin Quanjian are hopeful of concluding a deal to sign Costa, who appeared to be keen to seal a move to China during last January's transfer window.

The 28-year-old has scored just three times in 12 appearances for Chelsea, who have also seen their lead at the top of the Premier League table cut to just four points.

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Any deal is likely to be extremely lucrative, with some reports suggesting that Tianjin could make Costa the world's highest-paid player with a £650,000-a-week contract.

'We have high standards [in buying foreign players] and those players prefer top clubs such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Their asking price for Big Rom may be outrageous as well (like £100m outrageous), but if we can finance most of that with Costa's fee, it suddenly looks a lot less outrageous. "It's safe to say that we have the same transfer targets as those illustrious clubs".

Over the past couple of years, a number of renowned footballers including Ezequiel Lavezzi, Carlos Tevez and Graziano Pelle, have made the move to clubs in the Chinese Super League. They are managed by Italian World Cup victor Fabio Cannavaro and signed Alexandre Pato for £15 million from Villarreal in January.