The Chinese Super League’s rise in world football shows no signs of slowing thanks to its vast financial backing.
Jackson Martinez, Ramires and Alex Texeira all departed Europe for the Far East’s riches in the winter transfer window, with a number of other big-name players also linked with moves to the likes of Jiangsu Suning and Hebei China Fortune.
Chelsea’s Willian became the latest Premier League name to be approached by China’s top-flight, with Guangzhou Evergrande reportedly willing to offer £50 million and £240,000-per-week wages for the Brazilian this summer.
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Whether a move transpires remains to be seen, but one deal that won’t be happening is Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano to the Chinese Super League.
According to the Daily Mail, per Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, the Argentine was the subject of - but rejected - a mammoth £39 million deal to leave the Camp Nou.
Reports suggest the 31-year-old couldn’t be tempted by the huge wages offered to him and instead opted to stay put amidst a desire to achieve further success in Catalonia.
In a sport dominated by financial incentive, money clearly isn’t always everything.
Mascherano’s decision to reject the Chinese Super League’s riches is a refreshing one amidst growing concerns that footballers are becoming more focused on their ludicrous wages than the quality of football on offer to them.
Former Liverpool target Texeira, for example, was offered a dream move to Anfield yet flew to China to complete an eye-watering £37.5 million transfer. Money undoubtedly proved decisive in his move.
And why would Mascherano want to leave Barcelona anyway? The Argentina international has won La Liga three times and the Champions League twice since arriving at the Camp Nou in 2010, with another Spanish title in the offing.
However, whilst the future of one Barcelona ace is secure, another’s is in doubt.
Sergio Busquets is a reported target of Manchester United and City, both of whom weighing up summer bids for the Spain international.
Manchester Evening News claim the Premier League pair have been told they will have to stump up a huge fee if they’re to prise Busquets - who has a £128 million buy-out clause - away from Catalonia.
Barca are keen to keep hold of their midfield maestro given the stability he offers in the centre of the park.
Brazilian winger Neymar is another whose future has been placed in doubt recently yet the 24-year-old has taken steps to quash any rumours suggesting he wants a move away by telling his father to reject all interest shown in him.