Nikola Kalinic rules out China move, pledges his future to Fiorentina
Nikola Kalinic has brought an end to speculation he might leave Fiorentina for China this winter by saying he is staying in Florence.
Kalinic, 29, has been linked with a move to Tianjin Quanjian, who are coached by Fabio Cannavaro, but the Viola have refused to consider an offer below the Croatia international's €50 million release clause.
Even if Tianjin were to raise their bid to match Fiorentina's demands, however, Kalinic says he would not consider a move anyway.
"I am staying at Fiorentina, that is my decision," Kalinic told Sportske Novosti. "I want to play in Italy, at the club where I have been for two years and where I am happy, thanks to the coach and my teammates.
"There has been enormous pressure on me about this transfer with everybody pushing me to go. It seemed like the press wanted rid of me, but not Fiorentina or their fans."
While Tianjin were unable to reach an agreement with the Serie A club, they had already put lucrative terms to Kalinic's agent.
The striker said it was "only natural" that he listened to what they had to offer, although that did not mean he wanted to leave Fiorentina.
"I never said that I would have liked to go, but of course when I received an offer, it was only natural that I considered it," he said. "But I never expressed a desire to leave. I never spoke directly to the Chinese and I don't even know how much Tianjin had offered Fiorentina. I received an offer and I have decided to stay, and that is my final decision."
Kalinic has scored nine Serie A goals for Fiorentina this season, netting a further four in the Europa League.
The ongoing transfer speculation did not seem to be distracting him too much as he scored in Fiorentina's 2-1 win over Juventus last weekend, and is likely to lead the Viola attack in their clash with Chievo on Saturday.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.