Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has branded reports suggesting that he could return to the Premier League a “false rumour”.
Despite taking the decision to leave Europe for the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League, Mikel is only 30 years of age.
Mikel, though, has moved quickly to rubbish such speculation, telling Tianjin TV: "I don't know from where such a rumour could come, but this story is untrue.
"I want to stay in the CSL and play for [Tianjin] Teda. I'm sure there will be lots of speculation about me as the transfer window nears but it is a false rumour.
"The CSL lags behind the Premier League, but their level is still quite high. I believe more matches will help me get in shape for the 2018 World Cup.
"I just hope to stay injury free next year and have an amazing season with Teda."
Reports suggest that three Premier League sides have expressed an interest in Mikel ahead of the winter transfer window.
The hard-working midfielder is a proven performer on such a stage, having left Chelsea with two Premier League titles, four FA Cup wins, two League Cups, a Europa League triumph and Champions League crown.
He did, however, pen a contract through to the end of 2019 when taking the decision to head for Asia and seemingly has no intention of breaking that agreement.