Frank Lampard's speculated move away from Stamford Bridge continues to intensify.
Chinese side Guizhou Renhe have claimed they are in talks with the veteran midfielder. Although previous rumours suggested a deal was already in place, Guizhou officials have clarified the progress in the local media.
"Yes, we are in contact with Lampard but so far nothing has been settled," said deputy board chairman Yang Xiayou to Beijing television station BTV-6 (via The Daily Mail).
Chairman Dai Yongge has also spoken to a Chinese newspaper. He indicated Lampard would arrive in January and instantly receive captaincy at the club (via Sky Sports).
Chelsea certainly have a recent history of selling stars to China. Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba currently play for Shanghai Shenhua—although both have been linked with returns to the Premier League.
Nicolas Anelka is rumoured to be unhappy in Asia. The Frenchman, who earns £250,000-per-week at the Chinese club, is currently being linked with a transfer to West Ham (via The Guardian).
Didier Drogba recently ruled out a European return. Brendan Rodgers was interested in landing the Ivorian forward, but quickly had his attempts rebuffed (via The Daily Mail). Drogba left Chelsea after scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final and is keen to leave his Premier League legacy intact.
Lampard's future is going to come under close scrutiny until Roberto Di Matteo finalises a 12-month extension to the player's contract.
Guizhou Renhe finished fourth in the last Chinese Super League season. Is the lure of a new challenge enough to secure the Englishman's signature? Is it really time for the influential player to move on?
These questions will be answered in the run up to Christmas. Once thing's for certain—Frank Lampard has a huge decision ahead of him.