Belfast Telegraph

8 former Premier League stars seeking their fortunes in China

Chelsea playmaker Oscar is on the verge of a lucrative switch to Shanghai SIPG, who are reportedly set to pay the Blues £52million for the Brazilian's services.

The Chinese Super League is proving ever more popular due to the seemingly vast riches on offer, with Oscar's team-mate and Chelsea captain John Terry and Arsenal talisman Alexis Sanchez also recently linked with moves there.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at a few former Premier League players and coaches that have tried their luck in the Far East.

DEMBA BA

Joined Shanghai Shenhua, for whom Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka had also played, 18 months ago from Besiktas on a three-year deal with an annual salary reported to be worth more than £5million. The former Newcastle and Chelsea striker scored 14 times in 18 matches this year before suffering a horrible leg break in July which has ruled him out of action ever since.

PAULINHO

Did not leave much of a mark in his two seasons at Tottenham, who offloaded the midfielder to Guangzhou Evergrande for a fee approaching £10million in June 2015, but the Brazil midfielder has since rejuvenated his career under former international manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. Paulinho played a starring role as Guangzhou lifted the Chinese Super League title this year and his form has seen him recalled to the national side.

RAMIRES

Joined Jiangsu Suning from Chelsea in January earlier this year in a deal believed to be worth £25million - a Chinese Super League record that would be broken twice in the following 10 days. The Brazilian midfielder was sent off on his debut but helped his new club finish runner-up to Guangzhou Evergrande in the league.

GERVINHO

The former Arsenal forward often flattered to deceive in north London but he raised his profile in two and a half seasons at Roma before moving on to Hebei China Fortune in January. He told L'Equipe he moved for the money, saying: "Earning £47,000 to play just one match is unimaginable in Europe, even at a club like Real Madrid. But here it's the case."

GRAZIANO PELLE

Swapped Southampton for Shandong Luneng in July for a fee of around £12million, with the Italian reportedly earning more than £13million per season, which at the time made him the fifth highest paid player in the world. He has made a moderate start to life in China with five goals in 13 appearances .

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON

The former England and Manchester City coach is something of a veteran in China, first taking charge of Guangzhou R&F in June 2013 on a deal reported to be worth £2million a year. The Swede departed for Shanghai SIPG in November 2014 and led the club into the AFC Champions League for the first time the following year but was replaced by former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas last month. Eriksson has since taken the hot seat at second tier Shenzhen FC.

MANUEL PELLEGRINI

Did not dwell on his exit from Manchester City for too long as he was appointed Hebei China Fortune boss in August - less than four months after his last match at the helm of the Premier League giants. However, the honeymoon period is definitely over for the Chilean, who has won just one of his seven matches in charge at Hebei, with four defeats.

GUS POYET

Lasted barely six months in spells at AEK Athens and most recently Real Betis, having been sacked by Sunderland in March last year after a poor season. But the Uruguayan has been given the chance to turn his managerial career round at Shanghai Shenhua, where he can count Ba and former Newcastle and Birmingham striker Obafemi Martins among his players.

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