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English Premier League

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho understands lures of China

Argentinean striker Carlos Tevez and Brazilian midfielder Oscar have recently moved to the Chinese Super League, while Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney have been linked with high-profile moves

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 3:58pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 10:38pm

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he would have no problem seeing Wayne Rooney opt for a lucrative move to China in the final years of his career, but thinks the club’s all-time leading scorer still has much to offer in the Premier League.

Rooney overtook Bobby Charlton as United’s most prolific goalscorer when he netted a late free kick against Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday.

While there was no suggestion Rooney wanted to move to the Chinese Super League (CSL), Mourinho said he fully understood why a player might want to end his career overseas.

“I don’t like to be critical with players that are going to China ... Could anyone be critical with Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] last summer if he decided to go to China or the US?” he said.

“No, and I think with Wayne it’s the same ... It’s him, his family and his decision. But, of course, I see him with an important contribution for us.

“In Wayne’s case, I have no idea. He never mentioned anything to me. The future belongs to him and what he wants from his career, the way he wants to end it and enjoy this last part of his career belongs to him.”

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The CSL recently witnessed two high-profile additions as Argentinean striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua and Brazilian midfielder Oscar joined Shanghai SIPG.

Media reports have suggested Shanghai Shenhua paid US$89.66 million for Tevez, while Oscar joined local rivals Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea in a deal believed to be worth US$65m.

Oscar’s former teammate Diego Costa was recently at the centre of speculation linking him with a move to China.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger have expressed concern about the rising financial power of the CSL.

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“I don’t like to be critical with players that are going to China,” added Mourinho. “The money is huge, the experience can also be very interesting. I know some of my colleagues, they think they are more important than they are, they are critical with the lives of other people.

“I am not this kind of guy. I think everyone is responsible for his own life.”