By Alan Duffy
In the past 12 months or so, the global nature of football has become all the more apparent, as the UAE, India and China have suddenly become legitimate destinations for some of the game’s bigger (and mostly older) stars.
With Europe hit badly by the economic downturn, the money has moved east, and, not surprisingly, footballers are starting to follow the cash. England man Matthew Upson is the latest Premier League player to have his head turned east, with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua doing their best to tempt the out-of-favour defender away from England.
Former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has already made the move to Shanghai, with his ex-teammate Didier Drogba also reported to be a target of the club.
Anelka is still the biggest name to currently be playing his trade in China, but with the likes of Hernan Crespo joining the new Indian Premier League, Brazilian international Grafite playing in the UAE and nouveau riche Russian clubs such as Anzhi Makhachkala attracting the likes of Samuel Eto’o, the footballing landscape is definitely starting to change.
As for Upson, at 32-years-of-age, a move to China is certainly an interesting (and potenitally lucrative) adventure.