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, is excited that his dream of “five or six years” of playing in the Premier League is nearing realisation and should be completed before the close of the window on September 1.
While Zhang is expected to go on loan initially, Chinese media sources are reporting the 26-year-old right-back – who has been compared to Sergio Ramos and nicknamed ‘Zhangmos’ in his homeland – could be a future replacement for Branislav Ivanovic.
“I’m very happy and very excited to finally have this formal invitation,” Zhang told Chinese newspaper Titan Sports.
“I’ve worked hard and waited these five-six years for my dream of playing overseas, and finally have recognition from the English Premier League.
“Although I’m unable to play Premier League directly, I believe [Chelsea] will have the most professional arrangements regarding my permit. I have no worries at all about the negotiations.”
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, and has been described by former coach Marcello Lippi as “the best Chinese footballer in the Chinese Super League”.