Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he has “already refused a big offer to go to China”, with the riches on offer in Asia continuing to lure top talent away from Europe and South America.
Several high-profile deals have been done in recent months, with the likes of Oscar and Carlos Tevez joining the household names already plying their trade in the Chinese Super League.
While there are plenty of famous figures prepared to line their pockets with big-money contracts, there have been as many snubs of the CSL.
Mourinho admits he is among those to have favoured staying in the “best competitons” over heading to the Far East, but he also appreciates the appeal of such offers and refuses to criticise anyone faced with a tough career choice.
He told GQ: “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? OK, 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, OK.
“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.”
Mourinho returned to management with United last summer, having spent five months away from the game on the back of his sacking at Chelsea.
He has helped to oversee an upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils competing for major silverware on multiple fronts once more.
They are already through to the EFL Cup final, booked a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, have a last-32 encounter with Saint-Etienne approaching in the Europa League and are perched just four points outside the top four in the Premier League.