China international defender Zhang Linpeng has claimed he is on his way to Chelsea before the end of the European transfer window.
The 26-year-old, who is currently at Chinese Super League (CSL) champions Guangzhou Evergrande, was relieved that his dream of “five or six years” of playing in the Premier League is nearing realisation.
While Zhang conceded he would not play for Chelsea initially – a loan deal is expected – Chinese media sources are reporting the 185-centimetre defender could be a future replacement for Branislav Ivanovic.
“I am pleased and excited to finally have such an official invitation. I have been trying, waiting for this for five or six years and finally got the recognition from the Premier League,” Zhang said, according to sports.qq.com.
The European transfer window closes on Tuesday.
Zhang – who can play both at full-back and in the centre of defence – has won four straight CSL titles with Evergrande, as well as the 2013 AFC Champions League.
Former Evergrande coach Marcello Lippi once described Zhang as “the best Chinese footballer in the Chinese Super League”, while he is known as Zhangmos in China for his resemblance to Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.
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