Barcelona legend Xavi believes that the era of Chinese dominance in the transfer market is only just beginning.
The Chinese Super League smashed its transfer record four times in 2016 and is attracting a growing number of top stars to the Far East with the promise of sky-high wages.
"China mean business"
It is a trend that Xavi says will only continue, and hence make it harder for European teams to compete for the big names.
“It now has to be taken very seriously,” Xavi is quoted to have said in The Sun. “For so long Europe's been the only destination for the world’s top players.
“China are showing that they mean business and they have the finances to attract the best players in Europe. Already they have great players, but it looks like they are just getting started.
“We have seen some of the best players join the MLS, but that was usually at the end of their career. What China are doing is totally different because they are attracting top players at the peak of their careers.”
"Europe just cannot compete"
Carlos Tevez is a case in point after the Argentina international joined Shanghai Shenhua for a reported £650,000-a-week in December, while there have also been dozens of other mega-money deals involving Chinese clubs over the past 12 months.
"The wages they are able to offer Europe just cannot compete with, and that makes China a very real destination for the best players,” added Xavi.
"For so long now it has been about playing in one of the top 4 or 5 leagues in Europe and competing in The Champions League. But if China are going to create a competitive league with top players and top coaches it may be that Europe is not the only option for the world's best."