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English Premier League 2015-16

All aboard the gravy train: 10 English Premier League stars who could be on their way to China

After a lull over Lunar New Year, Chinese Super League clubs seem set to continue throwing crazy amounts of cash at players over the next two weeks – here’s 10 big names from England who have been linked with moves

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 February, 2016, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 February, 2016, 11:16am

China’s massive spending this winter transfer window has stunned world football. After a break for Chinese New Year, the rumour mill is back in full swing – and with two weeks remaining before the Chinese transfer window closes on February 26, headline-grabbing deals for the likes of Alex Teixeira, Jackson Martinez and Ramires seem unlikely to be the last.

Here’s 10 players from the English Premier League linked with a move to the mainland – and what we reckon is the likelihood of those moves actually happening.

Loic Remy, striker, Chelsea

Chelsea’s French forward has failed to make the impact he’d like since joining from QPR for £10.5 million in 2014. The 29-year-old has only made one Premier League appearance this season and website Le10 Sport claims a 20 million deal has been agreed with Chelsea in principle, with Shanghai Shenhua and Hebei China Fortune the suitors mentioned. A 50 per cent profit on an injury-prone squad member would surely be seen as attractive business for Chelsea – and a reported 7 million-a-year salary would be hard to resist.

Likelihood of happening? 8/10

Dimitri Payet, forward, West Ham United

The French attacker has been a sensation for West Ham this season after joining from Marseille in the summer, with the Londoners winning 50 per cent of games with him in the team as opposed to 25 per cent without. Sky Sports claims a Chinese club are ready to pay almost 50 million for the player, more than three times what the Hammers paid for him in the summer (£10.7 million). But having taken the Premier League by storm, it seems unlikely the 28-year-old would be ready to leave so soon, and West Ham are reportedly trying to tie him up on a new deal.

Likelihood of happening? 4/10

Phil Jagielka, defender, Everton

The Sun claims the centre-back has been sounded out about a move to China. He’s hardly a glamour name but the fact he’s a regular for England is supposedly seen as making him an attractive prospect. At 33, one last massive pay day might be impossible to resist – and Everton would surely be happy to cash in on a player with next-to-no resale value outside China.

Likelihood of happening? 7/10

John Terry, defender, Chelsea

The Blues legend launched a PR battle recently by revealing the club is stalling on offering him a new contract. Despite the injury to young defensive partner Kurt Zouma in Chelsea’s last game against Manchester United, it seems the club wants to let their next manager decide whether he wants to keep the club legend or not. Terry says he couldn’t possibly play for another club in England – and as one of the highest-profile English players he could name his price to play in China, even at 35. The Telegraph claims he could earn £20 million net for one season.

Likelihood of happening? 7/10

Oscar, midfielder, Chelsea

The Brazil international, just 24, should be yet to reach his peak. His agent claims that Chelsea have already rejected a staggering offer of 75 million to join Ramires at Jiangsu Suning. Even for billionaire-backed Chelsea, that sort of money will be difficult to turn down if Jiangsu return after the English season ends. Whether or not the player would fancy putting his chances of playing for Brazil at risk by moving is another matter.

Likelihood of happening? 4/10

Radamel Falcao, striker, Monaco (on loan at Chelsea)

The Colombian has been a total flop on loan at Chelsea this season, and at Manchester United the previous term. Dogged by injuries, he looks a shadow of his deadly former self, but is still a massive global name. Monaco would be delighted to get his gigantic salary off their wage bill and the player might see a move to an easier league as the perfect opportunity to get back to something approaching his best. Super-agent Jorge Mendes is supposedly doing his utmost to make it happen.

Likelihood of happening? 8/10

Yaya Toure, midfielder, Manchester City

The Ivorian midfielder is already one of the best-paid players in England, but is set to become even richer in China. Fans have become fed up with his half-interested displays of late and with incoming manager Pep Guardiola having already punted him from Barcelona, his days at the Etihad look numbered. A staggering 30 million-a-year deal is supposedly on the table, and the 32-year-old looks certain to be heading east, if not in this window then at the end of the season.

Likelihood of happening? 9/10

Wayne Rooney, striker, Manchester United

The United player is the kind of global superstar the Chinese Super League would love to have. The Sun reported back in November that he was being lined up for a move to Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG, then widely seen as posturing from his agent but now appearing more credible. Any move likely depends on who will be next manager of United: Louis van Gaal is rumoured to be ready to let him go, but his days seem numbered and possible new boss Jose Mourinho tried to take him to Chelsea in the past. The thought of Wazza trying to adapt to life in China is highly amusing, but we may have to wait to see it.

Likelihood of happening? 4/10

Nikica Jelavic, striker, West Ham United

Okay, ‘star’ might be giving the Croatian a bit too much credit – he’s hardly set the Premier League alight at Everton, Hull or West Ham since joining from Scottish side Rangers in 2012. But let’s include him for the sake of completeness. He seems set to sign for second division side Beijing Renhe with reports claiming a £4 million move is “95 per cent” done.

Likelihood of happening? 9/10

Mesut Ozil, midfielder, Arsenal

In a masterpiece of clickbaitery, the Star claims ‘Arsenal fans fear Mesut Ozil exit after China message sparks Twitter transfer panic’.

To save you a click, the German wished fans happy new year in Chinese, prompting a few wags to joke ‘that’s it, he’s off to China’. Unless it was the first step in a Machiavellian masterclass from the player, let’s write this one off.

Likelihood of happening? 0/10