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Chinese plot A-League takeovers

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Ben McKay

A-League clubs should brace themselves for a renewed poaching effort from cashed-up Chinese teams in January.

The emerging Chinese Super League took the football world by storm at the start of this year, spending more money on transfer fees than even the English Premier League during the northern hemisphere's winter transfer window.

The influx continued in the mid-year break, when internationals like Hulk, Graziano Pelle, Papiss Cisse and Roger Martinez chose moves to China over traditional leagues.

A leading player-manager has warned A-League clubs that the money will keep flowing in January, with Australian players very much in demand.

Paddy Dominguez, who counts Socceroos Aaron Mooy and Jamie Maclaren among his clients, says he expects China to ask the question about a range of A-League talents as they prepare for their season.

"The Chinese view of the Australian football market is that it's second after Europe," he told AAP.

"My expectation is they will look more and more to the Australian market and January is always going to be their biggest buying period."

Like Australia, Chinese clubs face restrictions on how many foreigners are allowed at each club, but Australians can also qualify for an additional Asian position, which increases their value.

"That makes them extremely attractive," Dominguez continued.

"They have an appetite for big physical players. We've seen an awful lot of defenders go to China, and they're also buying big powerful strikers.

"They're the two areas they'll look to plunder the Australian market."

In last year's equivalent window, Chinese clubs were vigorous buyers of Australian players, but brought only Michael Thwaite from the A-League.

Apostolos Giannou (who moved from Greece), Ryan McGowan (Scotland), James Troisi (Saudi Arabia) and Trent Sainsbury (Netherlands) made Chinese moves, with Tim Cahill also switching clubs from Shanghai Shenhua to Hangzou Greentown.

Dominguez said A-League clubs could be worried, or see the opportunity.

"Previously it was Middle Eastern clubs coming in. Now it's just an added threat from China," he said.

"Chinese clubs want to buy them at the end of January so it presents an opportunity to collect a transfer fee and put some money in the bank.

"But I dare say a lot of A-League teams would prefer not to lose the player because it's very difficult in January to replace that player with a like-for-like.

"It's difficult for clubs because once a Chinese club is after a player and offering them the sort of money they do, the player's heads turn ... then it's normally the case that the club will have to negotiate the best fee."

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