(Reuters) – Italy international Sebastian Giovinco has received “concrete proposals” from two clubs to play in China, Italian media reported on Tuesday.
Giovinco, who will be 30 on Thursday, was the second highest earner in North American Major League Soccer (MLS) last year, receiving more than $7 million from Toronto FC.
“The figures mentioned are far beyond Sebastian’s current wages and that’s an issue because the career of a professional football player is not that long,” agent Andrea D’Amico told Mediaset Premium television, according to the Football Italia website.
However, a spokesman for Toronto FC told Reuters that the club had not been contacted by any Chinese Super League teams.
Former Chelsea and Scotland defender Craig Burley has advised Giovinco and his agent to drop the China talk.
“If you’re that good, go and play somewhere proper,” Burley said on ESPN.
“Go and see if you can get a game in Italy again where you couldn’t get a game before coming to Major League Soccer.
“Never mind all this China nonsense. He’s getting paid well enough at Toronto to do what, play against players who are nowhere in the same league.”
The cash-rich Chinese Super League has lured several big name players recently, most recently Argentine Carlos Tevez, who joined Shanghai Shenhua for a two-year deal reportedly worth over $80 million, though the club has not confirmed the figure.
Giovinco was voted the MLS most valuable player in his first season with Toronto in 2015.
He moved to North America two years ago from Serie A team Juventus. He has made 21 appearances for the Italy national team.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)