Chinese Super League clubs might not be making as much noise as they once were, but they still can’t be ignored.
The wealth behind the spending spree on the likes of Alex Teixeira, Carlos Tevez and Oscar in recent years hasn’t gone anywhere.
Even with a 100 per cent tax on overseas signings imposed on clubs from 2018, it would be foolish to write them off in the transfer market.
Although the top-flight’s net outlay decreased by almost £300 million between 2017 and 2018, well-known stars who are within or close to their peak years continue flocking to the Far East.
Here we look at ten Chinese Super League players who’ve fallen off football fans’ radars of late.
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Backing up his 20-goal season to help Watford earn promotion to the Premier League, Odion Ighalo scored 15 in 37 outings under Quique Flores during the 2015-16 campaign.
A less impressive first half of the following term saw the Nigerian sold to Changchun Yatai, from where he has since joined his current club Shanghai Shenhua after rejecting a loan move to Barcelona.
Hamsik was still considered one of the best midfielders in world football at the end of his 11-year spell at Napoli.
So, it’s no wonder his decision to join Dalian Yifang in February turned a few heads.
Similar to Ighalo, Graziano Pelle quickly made a name for himself in the Premier League with 23 goals and 68 appearances for Southampton between 2014 and 2016.
But instead of capitalising on Antonio Conte’s desire to sign him for Chelsea, the Italian chose Shandong Luneng and coincidentally became the then fifth-highest paid player in the world on a £13.5 million salary.
Yannick Carrasco attracted a great deal of hype throughout the five-and-a-half seasons he spent at Monaco and Atletico Madrid.
The Belgian winger continued drawing interest from Europe’s elite up until February 2018, when he departed the Spanish capital for Dalian Yifang - a club owned by his former club’s partial stakeholder, Wanda Group.
Sone Aluko struggled to achieve any sort of consistency off the back of two seasons in the Premier League with Hull City.
Since the Tigers returned to the Championship in 2015, the England-born Nigeria international has also played for Fulham and Reading, with the latter loaning him to Beijing Renhe for 2019.
Cedric Bakambu has been a regular goalscorer throughout a variety of spells in France, Turkey and Spain.
But having chosen not to angle for a move to an elite European club, the Congolese striker finds himself representing Beijing Guoan, for whom he’s bagged 23 goals in his first season.
Guarin was once the type of player every manager would love to have in their side.
Quick, strong and useful at both ends of the pitch, the Colombian has been at the service of Shanghai Shenhua for three years since he fell out of favour at Inter Milan.
Unlike many of the players we’ve looked at so far, Augusto has been plying his trade in the Chinese Super League for three years at Beijing Guoan.
The Brazilian made his 100th appearance for the club last weekend, making his time in the Champions League with Bayer Leverkusen seem a long time ago indeed.
Given Mascherano won every possible honour over the course of eight seasons in a Barcelona shirt, ending his career in the spotlight certainly wasn’t a priority.
Nevertheless, going for one last hurrah with Hebei China Fortune probably wasn’t the option many football fans expected him to take.
Goalscoring midfielders are hard to come by in modern football, which is why Talisca was such hot property during his first two seasons at Benfica.
The Brazilian netted 20 goals in all competitions until he was loaned to Besiktas and then Guangzhou Evergrande, where he eventually signed permanently last October.News Now - Sport News