Jose Mourinho has revealed he turned down a "big offer" to coach in the Chinese Super League, citing the competition's financial influence as a cause for concern.
The Portuguese opted to stay in the Premier League after his dismissal from Chelsea, taking over at Manchester United, who are fighting for cup silverware on three fronts.
But he does have fears over the growing influence of the CSL, with the likes of Carlos Tevez and one of his former charges Oscar having made the switch.
Mourinho suggested financial reward was the determining factor for players making such moves, with footballing ambitions taking a backseat.
He told GQ: "If you are negotiating a new contract with one of your players and you offer him £5million per year and they offer £25million, then you have a big problem. Maybe the player takes £5million because he prefers football. Or £25million because he prefers money.
"I have already refused a big offer to go to China, but I don't criticise anyone who decides to do it. It's their choice, their life. Only they can decide what they need for their future.
"Other managers in the Premier League have been critical, but I am no critic. I am worried, because they can offer contracts that are impossible to offer in Europe. But in the end the player who wants to go is a player that maybe you don't want to keep.
"Imagine the guy who is 24 or 25, and he wants to go? At 24, or 25? Okay, goodbye, be happy… The player who is 31 or 32, and they go for a few years and then come back with a bank account full, okay. But when they are young and they have a chance to be in the best competitions, and they still decide to go, well maybe it is better that they go."
The Chinese Football Association confirmed an amendment to its competition rules this month – prompted in part by "recent irrational club investment for domestic and international player transfer fees".
CSL teams will be allowed to select five overseas players in their matchday squad of 18, but cannot have more than three on the field at any given time from the 2017 season onwards.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.