(Reuters) - Carlos Tevez became the latest high-profile international player to join the Chinese Super League when Shanghai Shenhua confirmed the signing of the Argentine striker from his boyhood club Boca Juniors on Thursday.
“Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC reached a transfer agreement with Argentina Club Atletico Boca Juniors. Carlos Alberto Tevez is officially joined Shanghai Shenhua,” the club said in a statement on its website (www.shenhuafc.com.cn).
Although no financial details of the deal were released, media reports have suggested that the Chinese club paid 84 million euros ($87.65 million) for Tevez, who returned to Argentina last year after spells in England and Italy.
The hefty price tag will make Tevez the world’s sixth most expensive player, behind Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Neymar, according to the German-based soccer information website transfermarkt.com.
Tevez is also in line to become the sport’s highest paid player with the striker reportedly earning around $753,000 per week on a two-year contract with Shanghai Shenhua.
The 32-year-old is the second big-money arrival in China’s biggest city in less than a week after Brazilian midfielder Oscar joined local rivals Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea in a deal believed to be worth 60 million euros ($62.62 million).
Graziano Pelle, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Jackson Martinez are all recent arrivals in China, while Shanghai SIPG manager Andre Villas-Boas is also on a lucrative contract since replacing former England boss Sven Goran-Eriksson.
Tevez, who played for West Ham United, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus during a decade in Europe after leaving Boca for Brazil’s Corinthians in 2005, ended his second spell with the Argentine club on a high.
Having helped the club win the league title last year, Tevez starred in a 4-2 win over arch-rivals River Plate in the ‘superclasico’ earlier this month, a victory that lifted Boca into first place in the championship.
Tevez will team up with other high-profile internationals at the club, including Senegalese striker Demba Ba, Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins and Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin.
Despite a highly-successful club career, Tevez has failed to light up the international stage, having scored 13 goals in 76 appearances for Argentina. He did, however, play a pivotal role in the country winning gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Boca Juniors offered Tevez their best wishes in a statement announcing his departure, which included the message: “Good luck Carlitos. You will always be in our hearts.”
Shanghai Shenhua, who appointed Gus Poyet as manager last month, finished fourth in the 2016 Chinese Super League, which ran from March to the end of October, 16 points behind champions Guangzhou Evergrande.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru