5 players you forgot were still playing in China – including ex-Chelsea star

Saudi Arabia isn’t the first country to try and disrupt the European club scene with their colossal spending power.

Not so long ago, the Chinese Super League was flashing the cash and luring some of the best players in the world to the country. In 2010, whopping salaries of £500,000 per week weren’t unheard of, with many quality players swapping Europe for the Far East. However, it’s fair to say the bubble has burst in recent years.

Not even the biggest clubs aren't safe with Jiangsu FC, the reigning Chinese Super League champions at the time, folding while a salary cap has been introduced. With money running out, many players have left, with some now earning mega-bucks in the Saudi Pro League, whose influence appears to be here to stay. But some familiar faces remain. Here are five well-known players who have performed in the Chinese Super League this year.

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Arguably the most surprising Premier League defection to China was Oscar, who was in his prime when he swapped Chelsea for Shanghai Port, who paid around £60million for the Brazilian in 2017, paying him a reputed £400,000 per week. Still only 32, Oscar remains with the same team, although he hinted earlier this year he could be ready to return to the Premier League.

Did Oscar waste his talent by going to China? Have your say in the comments section below

Marouane Fellaini

He became a maligned figure in the Premier League for his spell at Manchester United after initially moving to England with Everton. But Fellaini has become a legend of Chinese football thanks to his spell with Shandong Taishan, the club he joined back in 2019. Now 35, Fellaini has just left the club, becoming a free agent, meaning he could soon be coming to a side near you!

Lucas Joao

The Portuguese striker is well known in EFL circles for his spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Reading, making more than 100 appearances for both. He jumped on the Chinese gravy train in 2019, joining Oscar at Shanghai Port, where he remains to this day.

Ibrahim Amadou

The central defender spent most of his career in France with the likes of Lille and Metz as well as stints in with Sevilla and Norwich City, where he had a loan spell in 2019/20. He was a latecomer to the Chinese Super League, joining Shanghai Shenhua earlier this year.

Joao Carlos Teixeira

The attacking midfielder was snapped up by Liverpool as a youngster, making a handful of first-team appearances. He also spent time with Brentford and Brighton on loan before spells back in his native Portugal, the Netherlands and Qatar. Like Amadou, he was recruited by Shanghai Shenhua earlier this year.

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