Belfast Telegraph

Oscar poised to become highest paid player in world

By Jack De Menezes

Chelsea have agreed to sell Oscar to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG on a permanent deal believed to be worth around £52m, the club have confirmed.

The Brazilian will become the most expensive player in China once he completes his move, with Shanghai ready to offer him a contract worth a reported £400,000-a-week, overtaking the current highest earner in his new teammate Hulk, who earns £317,000-a-week.

The deal will also make Oscar the highest-paid player in world football pre-tax, surpassing the £365,000-a-week salary that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are believed to be on. However, their contracts are thought to include much larger bonuses that take their total wages beyond Oscar's.

A statement released by the club read: "Chelsea Football Club and Shanghai SIPG have agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Oscar.

"The 25-year-old will join the Chinese Super League team at the beginning of the January transfer window. He has been a Chelsea player for four-and-a-half years, helping us lift the Premier League, League Cup and Europa League as well as scooping two Chelsea Goal of the Season awards after stunning strikes against Juventus in 2012, on his full debut, and QPR in 2014."

The statement added: "We thank Oscar for his wonderful service and wish him the very best of luck for the future."

Oscar becomes the most expensive signing in Chinese football and his departure also exceeds the £50m fee that Chelsea received for the sale of David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain.

The club signed the Brazilian back in 2012 when then-manager Roberto Di Matteo snapped him up from Internacional back in his homeland. The attacking midfielder went on to help Chelsea win the Europa League that season, playing the full 90 minutes in the final as the Blues defeated Benfica in Amsterdam.

The return of Jose Mourinho saw Oscar handed a key role in the Portuguese's attack as he took up the No 10 position behind the striker and he had a major hand in securing the double for Chelsea in 2014/15 as Mourinho's side won both the Premier League and League Cup.

But with Mourinho's exit in December 2015 and the arrival of Antonio Conte the following summer came a demotion for Oscar as he was replaced in the Chelsea line-up, with Conte switching to a 3-4-3 formation that had no space for the Brazilian.

Oscar has not started a Premier League match in more than three months, with his last start coming in the 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool, and he had fallen behind Eden Hazard, Pedro, Willian and Cesc Fabregas in the pecking order under Conte that ultimately led to his soon-to-be confirmed departure in January.

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