Tuesday 12 December 2017

Belgian star Witsel nets huge China move

Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel
Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel

Independent.ie newsdesk

Axel Witsel is set to become one of the top ten highest paid players in the world after the Belgian midfielder opted to join the exodus to the Chinese Super League.

Witsel - who scored against Ireland in Euro 2016 and then featured twice against Dundalk for Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League - is due to earn a staggering €18m per year for newly-promoted Tianjin Quanjian.

He has shunned a move to Juventus who were only able to offer a third of that salary but his new boss will be Italian great Fabio Cannavaro.

Witsel may be coining in more than Manchester United's summer marquee signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he is not the biggest earner in China.

Oscar will make €24m per annum in Shanghai SIPG after leaving Chelsea with his new team-mate Hulk reported to be on €20m.

Carlos Tevez is understood to be in that bracket too with their city rivals Greenland Shenhua, while Witsel is just ahead of ex-Southampton striker Graziano Pelle on the pay-scale - the latter is with Shandong Luneng and on €16m every 12 months.

Ezequiel Lavezzi is taking in €14m with Hebei Fortune as the stunning spending levels put pressure on the established European powers to splash out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has encouraged spending as part of a ten-year plan involving state and private investment in the game which also entails huge spending on grassroots football and a plan to produce 100,000 home-grown players.

Irish Independent

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