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Foreign players to leave Chinese Super League after salary cap imposed - report

Marouane Fellaini

The Chinese Super League may be facing an exodus of foreign stars following the introduction of a new salary cap of £2m-a-year - approximately £42k-per-week. 

The Chinese Super League was founded in 2004, but it's only in the past few years that it has come to international prominence after a succession of high profile, big money transfers.

In 2017, players like Carlos Tevez, Oscar, John Obi Mikel and Ricardo Carvalho all moved to China. Since then, the league has welcomed the likes of Marouane Fellaini, currently at Shandong Luneng Taishan; Marko Arnautovic, who plays for Shanghai SIPG; and former Southampton striker Graziano Pelle, who plays alongside Fellaini at Shandong Luneng.

However, this salary cap would mean that were any of these big name stars to renew their contracts, they would have to take massive paycuts. It's thought that the cap wouldn't affect bonuses, but even still it's unlikely some of the reported salaries players are currently earning would get matched - Oscar is reportedly on £400k-per-week, Fellaini on £235k, and fellow Belgian Yannick Carrasco on £180k at Dalian Yifang. 

Carrasco is one player who has long been linked with a move to the Premier League. He was rumoured to be joining Arsenal in January last year, before Unai Emery brought in Denis Suarez on loan. However, his contract doesn't expire until 2022, so clubs may have to wait if they want to sign him for a cut-price fee. 

The Chinese Super League have also introduced a rule permitting clubs to acquire a fifth overseas player. However, only four will be allowed on the pitch at any one time. When talking about the new laws, The Daily Mail report that the Chinese Football Association chairman Chen Xuyuan said: "Our clubs had too much money burned and our professional football has not been run in a sustainable way."

Gareth Bale was the latest high-profile European name to be linked with a move to the league, reportedly agreeing a massive deal to go in the summer. However, this new ruling means if he is going to end his time at Real Madrid, staying in Europe - possibly with a move to the Premier League - looks the most likely. 

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