Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao have agreed the sale of star striker Elkeson to Shanghai SIPG to help their rivals achieve “national glory” in the AFC Champions League.
Elkeson scored 59 times in 72 Chinese Super League appearances for Guangzhou, helping the club claim three successive domestic titles.
The 26-year-old was also key to the AFC Champions League successes of 2013 and 2015, scoring the decisive goal in the latter to secure a 1-0 aggregate victory over Al Ahli last November.
Guangzhou claim to have agreed the deal to benefit China with improved results in continental competition, but also acknowledged money was a motivating factor.
“For the purpose of supporting Chinese teams to compete in the AFC Champions League, and for the national glory, we agreed Elkeson’s transfer to Shanghai SIPG club,” the club said in a statement carried by Xinhua news agency.
“The sale of Elkeson created a record high number in Chinese transfer market, the club got back €5.7 million investment and acquired profit.”
The 26-year-old will now link up with former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, with his signature reported to have cost €18m.