Room for one more: striker Papiss Cisse leaves Newcastle United for China’s Shandong Luneng

The 31-year-old, who scored 44 goals in 131 appearances for the Magpies, has signed for the Chinese Super League side for an undisclosed fee

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 July, 2016, 7:50pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 July, 2016, 8:12pm

Senegalese international striker Papiss Cisse became the latest high-profile player to quit Europe for China on Saturday, signing for Shandong Luneng from Championship side Newcastle United.

The 31-year-old, who scored 44 goals in 131 appearances for the Magpies in four-and-a-half years, signed for the Chinese Super League side for an undisclosed fee, the clubs said.

Cisse, whose 22 goals for Bundesliga side Freiburg in the 2010/2011 campaign is a record for an African player in the German elite league, joins Brazilian duo Hulk and Ramires, as well as Colombian marksman Jackson Martinez, in swapping European top-level football for the cash-rich Chinese league.

He is unlikely to be the last – leading Chinese sports event organiser Eric Gao said on a recent visit to London that Beijing Guoan have a wish list of several unspecified Manchester City players and money was no barrier to the clubs.

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“In terms of the Premier League, there are no limits. Chinese clubs will pay players two or three times more than they are at present,” said Gao, whose company organised a forthcoming tournament in China which will see Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho pit their wits against each other for the first time as Manchester City and Manchester United managers.