Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) – 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.
“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.
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