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Shock-tar: Donetsk star Teixeira makes surprise move to China for $56 million

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If Jackson Martinez was a “wow” and Ramires was a “WOW”, then the latest star tipped to move to the Chinese Super League is something akin to a “wow-wow-wow-wow-oh-wow”.

After a Premier League move failed to materialize in the January transfer window, Shakhtar Donetsk star Alex Teixeira could be making the move to China for a whopping $56 million.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings | Schedule | Stats ]

Teixeira is just 26, and this move explains why both Liverpool and Chelsea failed to bring the Brazilian attacker. Jiangsu Suning is the club in question, where Teixeira could team up with Ramires.

Safe to say if we told you months ago that Ramires and Teixeira would be teammates in February, you’d say, “Chelsea”.

More to come, for sure, but this is out-of-this-world stuff. We thought the four Corinthians players heading to China was wild enough, but we’re in next level territory now.

Done Deals: Ex-Spurs men find new PL homes; another Sunderland signing

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The only thing better than a brand spanking new transfer rumor involving your favorite football club is the official announcement of a brand spanking new signing by said favorite club.

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On Tuesday and Wednesday, as will be the case every day between now and the end of the January transfer window on Monday, Feb. 1, supporters of a handful of Premier League clubs felt the joy and optimism of new arrivals, as well as the sadness of the dearly departed.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Tuesday | Monday ]

Emmanuel Adebayor signed for Crystal Palace, as a free signing

Andros Townsend moved to Newcastle United from Tottenham Hotspur, for a reported fee of $17 million

Lamine Kone moved to Sunderland from Lorient (Ligue 1), for a reported fee of $7 million

[ MORE: Final transfer needs for 20 PL clubs as deadline day approaches ]

Ramires moved to Jiangsu Suning (China) from Chelsea, for a reported fee of $36 million

Christian Atsu moved to Malaga (La Liga) from Chelsea, on loan

Premier League preview: Chelsea vs. Bournemouth

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  • Terry, Ramires both out for Chelsea
  • Injury crisis ongoing for Bournemouth
  • Even a win won’t put Chelsea into Premier League’s top half this weekend
  • 14th (15 points) vs. 18th (10 points) in the PL

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14th-place Chelsea, who are currently only five points clear of the relegation zone, welcome 18th-place Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge, where the Cherries will be in search of their very first away win over the west London side (two previous tries, two losses – 1989 and 1994).

You can watch Saturday’s match live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Chelsea will be without captain John Terry (ankle) and midfielder Ramires (knock) for the fixture, with embattled manager Jose Mourinho likely opting for 21-year-old Kurt Zouma at center back and struggling Nemanja Matic in the deepest part of midfield. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is expected to make his return after missing three months with a knee injury. Diego Costa, who was dropped to the bench last weekend, is also expected to return to the starting lineup. Midfielder Eden Hazard started as the Blues’ quasi-center forward last weekend. Chelsea have just one win (Norwich City) in their last five league games, which include three losses (West Ham United, Liverpool and Stoke) and one draw (Tottenham Hotspur).

[ MORE: Courtois could return vs. Bournemouth; Costa to start? ]

Already out with long-term injuries are forwards Callum Wilson and Max Gradel, and club-record signing, defender Tyrone Mings. Additionally, goalkeepers Adam Federici (ankle) and Artur Boruc (knee), defenders Tommy Elphick (ankle) and Steve Cook (knock), midfielders Harry Arter (hamstring) and Mark Pugh (achilles), and forward Lee Tomlin (groin) are all in various levels of doubt for Saturday. It’s been nearly three months since Eddie Howe‘s side last won in the league (Sept. 19, versus Sunderland), and a visit to the reigning champions, no matter the level of turmoil in which they find themselves, is far from what the doctor ordered. The Cherries do have some reason to be hopeful, though, as draws away to Swansea (2-2) and home to Everton (3-3) in back-to-back weeks show they can attack like a Premier League side, even if they can’t defend like one.

What they’re saying

Mourinho, on righting the ship at Chelsea: “We hope the bad run is behind us now,’ the manager said. ‘I have to be cautious and you don’t know what is waiting for you around the corner. The reality is the run was really bad but we were very strong as a club – the technical staff and the squad of players – to cope with that and try to get over it. We started doing that with bad results but good performances. We kept our faith, our stability, and our belief. Finally last week we got three positive results in a row and let’s try to build on that. This month of December can be a good month.”

Howe, on the dramatic draw with Everton: “You hope a result like that can really boost the confidence and the belief of the players – it certainly helps to build momentum. What we are looking to do now is to turn those performances into wins, and hopefully a game like Everton can be the catalyst for that.”

Prediction

At some point everything has to click for Chelsea and start going their way, right? Right? Right? We’ve been asking this very question for weeks now, and though the results haven’t been great the last month, they’ve looked much more of a unit rather than individuals. An injury-riddled defense like Bournemouth will be a welcome sight on Saturday — particularly for Costa. Chelsea 3-1 Bournemouth.

Ramires on life at Chelsea, trophy hunt and returning to form

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Brazilian midfielder Ramires is one of Chelsea’s most experienced players and he has taken some time out to look back on a trophy-laden first five years at the club, while also addressing their recent poor form and how the Blues can move forward to bring back success.

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In an exclusive partnership with Chelsea Football Club, NBCSports.com provides even more access to life at Stamford Bridge.

Sign up to the Chelsea Fan Club Plus now to read the full edition of this month’s Chelsea magazine. Members also gain access to Chelsea TV featuring behind-the-scenes action from the Chelsea training ground and exclusive interviews with Jose Mourinho and his players.

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Below is the feature article on Ramires, who has just signed a new four-year deal with the reigning Premier League champs, from Chelsea’s magazine.


Home is where the heart is  – By Chelsea Football Club

Having signed a new contract which will keep him at the Bridge until 2019, Ramires is hoping the Blues can replicate some of the trophy triumphs of his first five years with the club

Midway through our interview to mark his new contract, Ramires’ face lights up and, for a few minutes, he can’t wipe the smile from his face. We have come armed with a set of photographs portraying the stand-out moments from the Brazilian’s first five years at Chelsea and, sitting down in his spot in the Stamford Bridge home dressing room, he takes his time going through them, getting lost in the memories.

“The feeling of a dream come true,” he says after a few moments of quiet reflection, pointing to a picture of himself holding up the Chelsea shirt during his first day at the club in August 2010, before adding: “I look very young there!”

In truth, Ramires doesn’t look much different to the 23-year-old who arrived from Benfica with hopes of lifting silverware in England. He has become an experienced member of the squad, with almost 250 appearances to his name, but more significantly he has added every domestic trophy, plus both major European competitions, to his list of honours.

Now he has signed a new four-year contract and, having just put pen to paper on the deal, he tells us what Chelsea means to him.

“What is there to say about this club?” he asks, rhetorically. “This is my home now. The memories since I arrived here are the very best. At the beginning, when I came to a huge club, my first thought was just to play here and remain here.

“A few years have gone by now. I have had all the support I ever wanted and needed from everyone at Chelsea, from the players that have left, from the players who are still here and, hopefully, from the players that will come in the years ahead as well.”

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Since Emerson Thome became the first Brazilian to play for Chelsea at the turn of the millennium, 13 players born in the South American footballing hotbed have pulled on the blue shirt at Stamford Bridge, including current first-team squad members Oscar, Diego Costa, Willian and Kenedy. None, however, have played as many times for the club as Ramires, who nods appreciatively when that fact is pointed out to him.

“When I first came here, there was only one Brazilian, and that was Alex, but many others have come along since then and we have got five Brazilian-born players in the first-team squad now,” he says.

“It’s very important for us to have one another here, especially when a new Brazilian player arrives, because we all speak the same language. While we have a very good relationship with all our team-mates, it helps to have these guys because, being so far away from home, they represent a kind of family here.

“As for the record of being the longest-serving Brazilian player at Chelsea, I’m not here to break any records but I am very happy about that and it is a good sign that the club is renewing my contract because it means I must be doing a good job. Hopefully, I will be able to stay here for a very long time.”

Having noticed Ramires shivering in the autumn mist as we made our way around the stadium to the shelter of the dressing room for the interview, it seems a good time to ask him whether he feels he has fully adapted to English life, having resided here for half a decade. Pulling his tracksuit jacket closed around his neck, he bursts out laughing.

“Yes and no! We have a saying in Brazil, which is a bit of a joke, that if you’re out on the street, it’s always cold. If you are inside, it’s fine.”

It’s probably fair to say that anyone arriving in London from Rio de Janeiro State is going to feel the cold, but he shrugs off his joke about the weather and answers earnestly about his life in England.

“Of course, I am adapted to everything now. I enjoy London, it’s a brilliant lifestyle here and my English is getting much better. I am starting to talk more and more English now and feeling more confident with it. I really enjoy the lifestyle here in London, I think it’s perfect.

“As far as my life off the pitch goes, I like it to remain quite private. I don’t do much apart from going to dinner, spending time with family and having friends over to my house. I really like living in England and when the weather is nice I enjoy going to different parks and relaxing.”

Family is at the forefront of Ramires’ mind at the moment. He and his wife recently celebrated the birth of their third child, Bruno, and the following day he toasted the newborn with a spectacular goal in our 2-2 draw at Newcastle.

On the pitch, it hasn’t been an easy season so far for the Blues, but Ramires has put in some strong performances. His energetic midfield displays allow him to get up and down the field, contributing both on and off the ball. His well-timed runs into attacking areas have also yielded some goals, too.

“As far as the mood is concerned, it is fine. We are training and working hard. We are doing the best we can to get out of this situation we have put ourselves in.

“I think the team has a good mentality, but when you don’t have victories you lose some confidence and we need to come back and start winning games again. When we have a good victory, where the team plays well and all of us return to our best, then the confidence will come back and our situation will change.”

The experience of players like Ramires, who have tasted success in the past, will be essential this season. In the 2011/12 campaign, when the team struggled to find their feet in the league, we still won two trophies thanks to hard work, persistence and the dogged belief in the quality of the players.

Reflecting on a magical moment from the following campaign, Ramires holds a photograph of himself celebrating a goal against Manchester United with the fans at Stamford Bridge and taps it repeatedly with his index finger, nodding vociferously as if to say: “This is what it’s all about.”

“This is very cool,” he says. “Not only when I score a goal, but also when a team-mate scores as well. You are so close to the fans and you can see the expression on their faces.”

He breaks off to point at one particularly ecstatic supporter in the photo and makes a high-pitch laugh of appreciation at the delight his art can produce in people. The man in the photo is looking at Ramires with pure joy in his eyes and the goalscorer is roaring back at him in delight.

Most of us will never know what that feels like, but he tells us it is the best motivation any footballer can ever want.

“You can see them smiling and cheering – it’s fantastic. If I could, I would score goals every day just to see those faces.”

At the time of writing, Ramires has 34 goals for Chelsea, including two which won the club’s official Goal of the Season award. While we’re reflecting on his time in SW6 it seems appropriate to revisit those famous strikes, the first a stunning individual goal featuring a weaving run through the Manchester City defence and a cool finish past Joe Hart in front of the Matthew Harding Stand in March 2011; the second a sensationally cool chip over Victor Valdes in Camp Nou to set Chelsea on the way to the Champions League final in 2012.He starts with the goal against City.

“Ah! My first individual trophy here was Goal of the Season for this one,” he says. “It was an incredible game. It’s very difficult to forget a goal like that and a day like that.

“But the goal at Camp Nou was a very important one, impossible to forget, because it was in the Champions League semi-final against a Barcelona side that, until that time, was unbeatable – and the quality of the goal as well. But I would choose them both as my favourite. I can’t decide between them.”

Almost as memorable as the goal at Barcelona was the celebration that followed. The stadium was a cauldron of noise that day – almost all of it in favour of the hosts. Camp Nou holds just short of 100,000 people when it is full and the vast majority of them were feeling very confident when they took an aggregate lead against a 10-man Chelsea side early in the second leg that night.

Despite the raucous atmosphere, Ramires’ chip was ice cool. His celebration, in front of more than 90,000 locals who were either stunned into silence or whistling their opposition, was a flamboyant dance, accompanied by an uncontrollably broad smile. The away supporters up in the gods were delirious, but what was going through his mind at that time? He chuckles at the memory.

“It was a dance we do back home with my friends and family when everyone is together,” he reveals, holding up a photo of himself in full snake-hipped motion. “I had been promising them for a very long time I was going to do the dance and it just came up on that goal, that moment. I did the dance for them.”

Ramires has many happy memories from his first five years as a Chelsea player and his ambition hasn’t dimmed one bit. He is now fully engrossed in the next challenge: restoring the optimism to Stamford Bridge and transforming a season that has started disappointingly.

“I have some great memories here, but I still feel as though I haven’t won any of those trophies, I still have the hunger, will and desire I had before.

“The competition is very demanding and being at a club like this you are expected to win something every year. I would love to win all of those trophies again. They are great memories and, even though they are in the past, they didn’t happen a really long time ago.

“However, when you win something, you have to move on. You are always competing, always challenging and always wanting to do more.

“Our objective now is to retain our confidence, to start winning games again as soon as possible and get involved at the top end of the table.”

VIDEO: Ramires starts Chelsea’s comeback with a bang

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Chelsea didn’t look ready to gain points on Saturday, trailing lowly Newcastle United 2-0 at St. James Park on NBCSN.

But Jose Mourinho made a pair of “inspired” subs, as Ramires and then Willian lifted the Blues into the draw column in a 2-2 final.

[ MATCH RECAP: Newcastle United 2-2 Chelsea ]

The first goal, from Ramires, was worth the price of admission. The midfielder picked up the ball outside the 18, and absolutely belted the ball past a flying Tim Krul.

Willian later scored on a free kick to split the spoils.