The Brazilian attacker – who reveals that he turned down a similar approach from the Far East a year ago – had started just five league games for the Blues in 2016/17 before linking up with fellow countryman Hulk at Shanghai SIPG in a deal reportedly worth £60 million.
Although the 25-year-old admits that the £400,000-per-week salary was an important factor in his decision-making, the need to play regular first-team football and force his way back into the Brazilian setup was also at the forefront of his thinking.
Speaking exclusively in the March 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, Oscar says: “I had an offer from Chinese football last year, but I didn’t want to talk further at that time. This time I listened to their offer and the project sounds perfect.
“In every conversation we had, they were coming with a more attractive offer. The financial aspect was important, yes, but it’s not all about money. I am not going by myself, I have my wife and kids with me, so the city had to be nice. I wasn’t playing much for Chelsea, so when I heard about Shanghai’s interest I was happy to go.”
The former Sao Paulo and Internacional schemer won three trophies during his Stamford Bridge spell – lifting the Europa League at the end of his first season and savouring a Premier League and League Cup double in 2014/15 – and he says it was a difficult decision to say goodbye to the west London club and its supporters.
“[It was] very hard [to leave],” he says. “I played there for five years and lived so many nice moments with the club. I have a lot of respect for all the supporters and the team.
“[Antonio] Conte is a nice guy. He respected my decision and understood I wanted to play more regularly. When he arrived at Chelsea, I told him there were clubs interested in me. He said I was part of his plans and so I decided to stay... but things changed.”
Read the full interview with Oscar in the March 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. A South American special, we head round to Ronaldinho’s house to hear what the Brazilian trickster is planning next, chat to Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta about learning English while watching Coronation Street, reminisce with former Real Madrid forward Robinho and meet up with Bayern Munich enforcer Arturo Vidal. Plus, we look back on the early days of Diego Maradona’s career at Argentinos Juniors, learn that West Bromwich Albion powerhouse Salomon Rondon doesn’t actually like heading, hear some remarkable tales from football’s own Forrest Gump, aka Nelson Vivas, and find out how Chapecoense go about healing a club and local community following November’s plane tragedy in Colombia. Order it now, and subscribe here!
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