Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi has signed with Hebei China Fortune, his new club said on Wednesday, making the 30-year-old the latest European-based footballer drawn east by jaw-dropping sums.
Hebei described him as “the next Maradona” on a verified social media account. It did not disclose a transfer fee, but previous British press reports said he would earn 23.5 million pounds ($33.6 million) over two years.
“His arrival will make the team’s attack more incisive, we look forward to him showing off his brave spirit,” the Chinese club added.
Chinese teams have been splashing their cash in Europe, as wealthy owners embrace President Xi Jinping’s vision of the sleeping Asian giant becoming a new footballing heavyweight.
Hebei China Fortune are owned by a Beijing-based developer of industrial parks, founded by billionaire Wang Wenxue. Lavezzi joins Ivorian striker Gervinho at the club after he signed for 18 million euros ($20 million) in January, along with Cameroon captain and former Marseille centre-back Stephane Mbia.
Lavezzi joined PSG in 2012 for 30 million euros ($34 million) from Napoli, but has been used mainly as a substitute this season, with just three league starts.
The current transfer window shuts on February 26 in China, and has already seen big-money moves by Brazilians Alex Teixeira and Ramires, along with Colombia’s Jackson Martinez, to join the cash-flush China Super League.