Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has turned down a lucrative offer to move to Chinese football.
Ramon Sostres, the player’s agent, has confirmed that representatives from China have been in contact with him in an attempt to lure the 32-year-old to the Far East.
However, Iniesta has rejected any overtures for now and has told Sostres his only aim is to carry on at Barcelona and get in the best possible shape for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the name of the Chinese club has not been revealed and the publication quotes an unnamed source at Barca as saying that “Iniesta is an icon and is not moving from here. He has a contract until 2018 and there is nothing to talk about with any club”.
The Chinese are the new kids on the block as far as football finance is concerned and have already signed a number of top names from Europe: Jiangsu Suning paid Shakhtar Donetsk €50m for Alex Teixeira and Chelsea €28m for Ramires, while Atletico Madrid sold Jackson Martinez to Guangzhou Evergrande for €42m.
Other names to have trodden the same path are Freddy Guarin, who went from Inter to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua for €13m, and Gervinho, who left Roma to sign for Hebei China Fortune after they invested €18m in the Ivory Coast international.
It is believed that Iniesta, meanwhile, will not assess his future plans for at least another two years, when his current agreement expires, and he is likely to receive offers from MLS, Dubai and Qatar, as did former teammate Xavi Hernandez.