Piers Morgan has revealed how he was left gasping in horror after Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney revealed the size of the offer he received from a club in the Chinese Super League.
According to reports, Rooney had the chance to leave the Red Devils during the recent transfer window and could have joined Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Alex Teixeira in the Far East.
The 30-year-old decided against the deal, knowing full well it would probably spell the end of his England career as well as put a huge downer on his testimonial at Old Trafford this summer.
Morgan, who evidently shares a close relationship with the striker, has revealed the full extent of the offer that was on the table from Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai side.
Apparently, the offer was so huge – over £100,000,000 in total – it shocked the Good Morning Britain host to his core. Incredibly, Rooney revealed that the wage was after tax too.
Here is the extract from his MailOnline column:
My phone rang at 11pm tonight. It was England football captain Wayne Rooney.
He wanted to discuss his forthcoming Manchester United testimonial plans this summer.
But we also talked about reports in the papers this week that he’s been offered ridiculous sums of money to go and play in China for Shanghai, a team managed by Sven-Goran Eriksson.
‘It’s true,’ he said.
‘How big a salary are we talking?’
‘Come on,’ I prodded, ‘make me sick.’
He then revealed a figure, based on a three-year deal, so stupendously, stratospherically gigantic that it did indeed make me feel instantly nauseous. (Without giving too much away, let’s just say it included eight noughts...) I literally gasped in horror, prompting him to add a final killer blow: ‘After tax!’
‘There’s another advantage I can see,’ I said.
‘The Chinese fans won’t realise how slow you’ve got.’
While they may have failed to coax Rooney to the country, the offer put in front of him was further evidence of just how much power China have. Now the state is intent on increasing their global standing in the world of football, there is no telling how much the game could change over the coming years.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, himself an intelligent economist, said the Premier League should be worried because China "looks to have the financial power to move a whole league of Europe to China".
Genuine stars like Rooney may be out of reach for some time yet but the second tier stars – the Ezequiel Lavezzi's of this world – will struggle to reject the crazy money on offer. Indeed, Lavezzi, a squad player at PSG, was handed £400,000-a-week to join Hebei China Fortune.