WAYNE ROONEY COULD WELL BE the next world star on his way to China after it emerged that the Manchester United captain is being targeted by a number of clubs in a league that is wasting little time in making a name for itself. The Chinese Super League has been growing over the past few years, but this year has seen China throw huge sums of money into their football league in a bid to attract some of the world’s best players. Having convinced the likes of Alex Teixeira, Jackson Martínez, Ramires and most recently Ezequiel Lavezzi to leave European football, the Super League could now be the next destination for England captain Rooney.

• • • •

• • • •

Having spent over £200 million during this transfer window, the Chinese Super League is now looking like a genuine rival to the European leagues in terms of attracting the best players in the world. This was highlighted by the fact Jiangsu Suning shelled out £38 million in order to sign Brazilian forward Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk despite interest from Liverpool. Breaking their transfer record three times in 10 days showed just how aggressive Chinese clubs have been over the past month in a bid to sign up as much world talent as possible – oh, and Nikica Jelavić.

With up to five foreign players allowed in each squad, the CSL is hoping this overseas talent can help those home-grown players currently playing in the Chinese league. And this huge investment has not only made the league popular with players, it’s also gained the attention of casual football fans as well as betting gamblers. With the host of stars now in China, Rooney, who has come in for some real criticism over the past couple of years in England, may find a reported £500,000 a week contract very tempting.

For casual betting fans around Asia who would have previously rather placed a wager on a Premier League game or just head to the casino to play poker or enjoy a few spins of slot game such as Football Star, the CSL could soon become one of the most interesting leagues in world football. If you’ve had a big win on Football Star at pokies.com, it could be that the Chinese Super League is where you decide to bet some of your winnings. But while it’s clear China is determined to establish itself as one of the major players in world football, it remains to be seen just how far this experiment will go and whether the power in football will make the shift from Europe to Asia.

While the other big money signings made by Chinese clubs over the past month have sent shockwaves throughout world football, convincing a player like Rooney to swap Manchester United for Guangzhou Evergrande or Shanghai Shenhua while still in his prime would be overwhelming evidence that the CSL needs to be taken seriously. Currently sidelined with a knee injury, Rooney won’t be making the move to Asia before the end of this Chinese transfer window. But it remains to be seen whether the huge sums being offered by the CSL tempts the England skipper in the summer.

By Jordan Rowley