Sven Goran Eriksson can see Wayne Rooney making the switch to the Chinese Super League. The former England manager believes the record-breaking centre-forward is likely to be tempted by the eye-watering wages on offer in the burgeoning domestic competition.
In recent weeks, the Chinese Super League has attracted a number of big-name players from Europe – including Chelsea midfielder Ramires – and Eriksson, who is managing Shanghai SIPG, thinks it is only a matter of time before the likes of Rooney and other superstar players move to China.
"Who doesn't want Rooney? But I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to leave Manchester United. Not for this moment, anyway," the Swede told Expressen. "Sooner or later, we are going to see names like Ronaldo, Messi and Rooney in this league - players on this level."
The former England manager admitted money is the motivating factor for the players who are making the switch to China. "You can't take away the fact that money is the primary factor," Eriksson added. "The [Asian] Champions League used to be dominated by teams from Japan, South Korea and Australia, but Guangzhou Evergrande have won it in two of the past three seasons.
"Football is on the TV all the time here, not just the Premier League or the Champions League, but all the European leagues. It is an emerging league, which is why they are attracting such big names. There will be more to follow. The football is improving all the time and they are very ambitious with the national team."
However, he said that for the likes of Rooney, whose contract at United expires in 2019, learning the local language could prove to be problematic. "The biggest problem is the language because it is so difficult for Europeans to learn. In the big cities, such as Shanghai, it is easier because so many people speak English," he said. "Shanghai is a beautiful city, with theatres, shopping malls and restaurants that can rival anything in London."