Ten footballers who nearly left Prem for China payday from Terry to Rooney

The Chinese Super League bubble looks set to burst as a financial crisis has led to half of its 16 clubs failing to pay their players.

The league was once pushed as the final frontier of football, and it enticed European talent with the promise of riches from the Far East.

Major names made the move to the CSL with Marek Hamsik, Hulk, and Oscar among the cream of the crop.

And the league reached for the stars when they attempted to bring some of the Premier League's biggest names to China.

Daily Star Sport is looking at ten Premier League players who almost made mega-money moves to the CSL…

John Terry

“If you asked me in December before they changed the rules, I would have said straight away he was coming. I was 100 per cent sure. No doubt,” Gus Poyet told talkSPORT about John Terry.

Poyet, who was in the hot seat at Shanghai Shenhua, was desperate to add the centre-back to his squad when Terry's contract expired at Chelsea.

But a rule change in the CSL scuppered any plans of Terry's move.

The new rule meant that teams can only field three non-Chinese players at any one time, and Shanghai already had Obafemi Martins, Fredy Guarin and Carlos Tevez on their books.

Did we miss anyone off our list? Let us know in the comments section

Wayne Rooney

They say home is where the heart is, and Wayne Rooney's heart has always been at Goodison Park.

So much so when he switched to Everton, Rooney turned down a move to an unnamed CSL club reportedly worth £650,000-per-week.

"In the summer when I was leaving Manchester United it would have been quite easy for me to go abroad," Rooney told the BBC.

"Go to China, go somewhere else and pick up a lot of money and see out the last few years of my career earning a lot of money."

Gareth Bale

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Okay, so this proposed deal came when Gareth Bale was at Real Madrid, but the winger is fondly remembered for his time in England.

But the flying Welshman came inches away from making the switch to the Far East with a deal worth over £1million-per-week.

“Gareth got an offer that was impossible to refuse but Real wouldn’t sell him,” Jonathan Barnett, Bale's agent, said in an interview with AS.

"The Chinese club [Jiangsu Suning] then couldn’t pay what Real wanted as a transfer fee. Did he want to go? Yes, he wanted to leave a legacy and help make football shine there."

Diego Costa

Diego Costa was set for a mega payday, rumoured to be worth €30million (£25.4million) per year in China.

However, Chelsea rejected the offer, and Costa was subsequently dropped from the side following a clash with Antonio Conte.

Costa stayed after looking set to leave in January a move in the summer looked to be set in stone.

But after the non-Chinese player rule was implemented Costa stayed pit in Europe.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

In the summer of 2019, Arsenal faced a battle to hold onto their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Chinese clubs began to circle the Gabon international.

Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG were both interested in the striker and according to The Times they were willing to pay £300,000-per-week.

Aubameyang had previously turned down a £62million move to Guangzhou Evergrande before joining the Gunners.

The Gabon international eventually stayed put, and he's now crucial to Mikel Arteta's side.


Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic is one of the hottest properties in London right now.

Everything the Serbian frontman touches seems to turn gold at the moment, and Mitrovic has bagged 20 goals in 17 appearances for Fulham so far this season.

But Mitrovic once turned down a move to Guangzhou Evergrande worth £300,000-a-week.

Fabio Cannavaro, who was at the helm of the CSL side, was ready to fork over £50million for the Serbian's services.

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas is the third and final Conte-era Chelsea player to make this list, however, unlike the other two, Fabregas had no intention of moving to the Far East.

The Spaniard turned down an eye-watering £25million-per-year deal to move to an unnamed Chinese club.

Fabregas had been on the fringes of Conte's side, but he wasn't tempted by the money.

Instead, Fabregas wanted to prove he could still hang at the top level.

Daniel Sturridge

Before Daniel Sturridge was making oddly specific requests for haircuts, he was rejecting moves to China.

Sturridge struggled to hold down a prolonged spot in the Liverpool team.

But even with a mega-money offer from Beijing Guoan on the table on Transfer Deadline Day, Sturridge elected to stay on Merseyside.

Sturridge did eventually leave England for Trabzonspor, where he was banned for breaching gambling regulations, before a move to Perth Glory.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's time at Manchester United was fleeting, but it's safe to say he left a lasting impression with the Manchester United faithful.

Jovan Kirovski, the LA Galaxy technical director, worked wonders to tempt the Swede to the MLS when an offer from the CSL was on the table.

According to Kirovski, Ibrahimovic turned down a $100million move to China in favour of a $3million move to the MLS.

And Ibrahimovic made one of the most spectacular debuts in history when he flipped the LA derby on its head with a trademark bicycle kick.

Yaya Toure

In 2016, shortly after the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Yaya Toure turned down the chance to become the third-highest earner in world football.

Jiangsu Suning reportedly wanted to pay Toure a stunning £30million-per-year deal.

That would have seen the midfielder earning £576,923 a week – more than double his City salary.

Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would have pocked more than Toure if the move had gone through.

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