Australia international Trent Sainsbury has confirmed his move from PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands to Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning.
The 24-year-old had been playing in the Eredivisie since 2014 after being signed from A-League side Central Coast Mariners.
Sainsbury, who played a big part in Australia’s 2015 Asian Cup triumph, said he could not turn down a move to the “ambitious” club.
“Chinese football is growing fast,” he told SBS. “Clubs are paying big money for exceptional players and to help grow the league, making the local players step up their own game. It’s only going to get better year by year.
“From what I’ve seen in the transfer market they are targeting big name players like Gervinho of Roma, [Freddy] Guarin of Inter Milan, Ramires of Chelsea and the signing of Luiz Adriano fell through at the last step.
“They’ve tried to tempt Manchester City’s Yaya Toure into a deal so they are very ambitious and want to become a force in Chinese football.
“They also have very high attendances for every game and have a great stadium.
“There were a lot of positives for me and the list of players they are trying to sign shows Jiangsu Suning’s ambition.”
The centre-back revealed it was a difficult decision to quit Europe but said he sought advice from several Australian’s who have played in China’s top-tier.
“I don’t know if going to China will be a good move for my career or not,” he said. “The same as I don’t know if staying in Europe would have benefitted me in the long run.
“I’ve spoken to many people about China, mostly blokes who I played with at the Mariners such as Mile Sterjovski, Daniel McBreen, John Hutchinson and Alex Wilkinson.
“I got a very useful insight and information but I’ve also been to China a few times for the [AFC] Champions League so I have some first-hand experience. I’m up for the challenge.”
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