With the recent news that Napoli forward Dries Mertens rejected a move to the up and coming Chinese Super League due to the fact that it would have “made his grandchildren rich,” do more players need to take a note from the Belgian’s book?
The 29-year-old’s Belgian team-mate Axel Witsel joined Tianjin Quanjian from Russian side, Zenit where he is now being paid a reported £15.3million annual salary.
For the last two seasons more and more players have moved to the Chinese Super League for an extremely generous wage with the likes of Argentinian international, Carlos Tevez earning around £615,000 a week.
With the demand for foreign talent high in China, teams are willing to splash out millions on mediocre players.
A fine example of this is Brazilian, Alexandre Pato. The 27-year-old was dubbed a future star and a wonderkid during his time with AC Milan but after a disappointing loan spell with Chelsea, Pato was sold to Villarreal by parent club, Corinthians for a fee of £2.5million.
The attacker recently made a £15.4million switch to Tianjin Quanijan in January, allowing Villarreal to make a £12.9million profit from an average player at best.
The Chinese Super League is now starting to receive more criticism than what the MLS originally received when foreign talent started to move to North America.
Another player who wasn’t impressing for his side during the 2016/17 season was Odion Ighalo.
The Nigerian striker impressed for Watford during the 2014/15 and 2015/16 season, first scoring 20 goals in the Championship which was followed by 15 Premier League goals to his name the following season.
After weeks of speculation, Ighalo made a £20million deadline day move to Chongchun Yatai from Watford.
As we approach the end of the European season, more and more players will eye up a big move for that final pay day.
Having said this, a number of prime age talents have moved to China, one of the first of these big names being Alex Teixeira.
During the 2016 January transfer window, Liverpool put in a £24.6million bid for the Brazilian but Shakhtar Donetsk rejected the bid, instead accepting a €50million offer from Jiangsu Suning.
This bid meant that the Chinese transfer record had been broken three times in 10 days after fellow Brazilian, Ramires also joined Jiangsu for a reported £25million from Chelsea.
Fellow South American, Jackson Martínez also made a switch to China during this 10 day period for €42 million.
Do more players need to follow Mertens’ decision and remain at their club on a respectable wage rather than going to Asia for the megabucks? Well it all depends on the player and the situation.
Young talent should remain in the top leagues of Europe in order to progress in their careers but for an average player who’s reaching the end of their career, why not go get that last big pay cheque.