Ambitious Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjia have admitted to making a move for Chelsea striker Diego Costa while turning down the chance to sign Monaco forward Radamel Falcao.
Head coach Fabio Cannavaro has the backing of his board to bring in high-profile additions, with money no object to a wealthy club bankrolled by billionaire owner Shu Yuhui.
They are expected to target further global superstars in the summer, with the winter CSL transfer window about to slam shut.
It could be that Costa figures on their radar once more, with the Spain international having been heavily linked with a big-money move to Asia.
One approach for the burly frontman has already failed, but the funds will be made available to go back in for the Stamford Bridge star if Cannavaro considers him to be a top target.
“Theoretically speaking, there is no limit on transfer budget in the summer. We can target whoever we want. But on several occasions, our targets are reluctant to join us,” Shu Yuhui said in a press conference on Monday.
“We made an attempt for Pato last year but he is not willing to come because our club was still in second division then. After we get promoted, he came.
“We also approached Diego Costa and other stars. It remains to be seen who will join us in June but I can assure you that the new players will be on the same level as Costa.”
Shu Yuhui has also admitted to pulling out of a proposed deal for Colombia international Falcao, with the decision taken to focus on other targets despite the South American returning to top form this season.
He added: “Not long ago, famous football agent Jorge Mendes came to the city of Dafeng to meet us.
“We had an overnight negotiation and Falcao was about to sign the contract to join us. However, the deal was scuppered by Cannavaro who later told us he doesn’t suit our style of play.
“Price and reputation are not our only concerns. We have to apologise to Mendes.”