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Who would go to China...?

By Chris Lappin - You can follow Chris at @vandertodge

How come so many top players are suddenly moving to China?

It won't have slipped your notice that money talks in the world of football and that the Chinese Super League are new kid on the block when it comes to splashing the cash.

While big name players joining clubs outside Europe is nothing new, the big difference between the current crop heading to China and those moving to America or the Middle East is these players are far from the ageing stars trying to get a big payday at the end of their career.

So what is in going on?

China believe that a strong professional club competition featuring some of the best players from around the world similar the American model which has had Megastars like David Beckham, Kaka, Steven Gerrard and David Villa plying their trade in the Major League Soccer in recent years is the way to improve the fortunes of their National.

Also they are looking at the success the J-League has had on the Japanese national side with Japan competing at five World Cups in a row since 1998.

A host of South Americans superstars have joined the Chinese Super League including the Brazilians Hulk, Oscar, Ramires and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi.

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Recently, former Manchester United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez became the world’s highest-paid footballer when he signed for Shanghai Shenhua in a deal worth reported to be around £610,000 per week.

In a shocking development, Chinese Super League clubs will now be limited to fielding three foreign players after a rule change was imposed on the Chinese FA.

Coming just weeks before the start of the new season, the timing of the rule has baffle many, especially as the previously agreed changes were the result of a lengthy consultative process.  

This season, clubs must feature a Chinese under-23 player in the starting 11, and can name five foreigners in the match day squad – but only a maximum of three can be used, meaning if three overseas players are named in the starting 11, no more foreigners can enter the field of play. Clubs must also include a second Chinese player under 23 in their matchday squads.

Former Tottenham Hotspurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, who currently the manager of Shanghai SIPG, is upset by the timing of new foreign player regulations in the Chinese Super League., claiming the move will increase the pressure on the country's young players.

It remains to be seen whether this will have any impact on the humongous spending by club owners and stop to People’s Republic becoming the new footballing superpower.

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