Jamie Carragher insists he is not off to China after Twitter hack
Jamie Carragher has claimed his Twitter account was hacked after a message published on his official account stated his intention to come out of retirement to play in China.
Chinese Super League clubs are throwing bucketfuls of money at players in Europe to convince them to move to the far east; although Carragher was quick to clarify that his 'announcement' was false, he made clear he was still open to any offers.
"Official announcement," read the former Liverpool defender's original tweet, "delighted to announce I am coming out of retirement, looking forward to getting back on the pitch."
Carragher, less than a fortnight from his 39th birthday, quickly followed up: "I didn't tweet this so it looks like I've been hacked!
Official announcement, delighted to announce I am coming out of retirement, looking forward to getting back on the pitch.— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) January 17, 2017
I didn't tweet this so it looks like I've been hacked! Tweet could've been a lot worse!! But if any Chinese club wants to give me https://t.co/uJozsD2Daj— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) January 17, 2017
"Tweet could've been a lot worse!! But if any Chinese club wants to give me [money money money] - [thumbs up]."
This incident comes amid an explosion in transfer activity around the burgeoning superpower of world football, with the Chinese Super League hoovering up players of increasingly high calibre. It is doubtful that even a fully fit Carragher would be capable of containing the attacking talent now at the disposal of China's top teams.
Former Man Utd, Man City and Juventus star Carlos Tevez ended a second spell with hometown club Boca Juniors in Argentina to join Shanghai Shenhua in December. The 32-year-old is the highest-paid player ever, on an estimated £615,000 per week.
Meanwhile, Brazil forward Oscar became the sixth-most expensive player in history earlier this month, after moving from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG for what Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called a "distorted" fee of £60million.
Now Oscar's former teammate, Diego Costa, appears to be agitating to leave Stamford Bridge too, amid interest from Tianjin Quanjian.
However, Dutch star Arjen Robben - who has just signed a new contract with German giants Bayern Munich - has said that players heading off to China are "wasting their careers".
China's growing interest in football is not exclusive to their own league, with 20 complete or partial takeovers of European clubs made by Chinese investors in the past two-and-a-half seasons - including England's Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.