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More big stars lured to cash-rich Chinese soccer league

BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Iceland forward Eidur Gudjohnsen has signed for Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, becoming the latest foreign player lured by the booming Chinese Super League.

The 36-year-old Gudjohnsen has plied his trade in the professional league of France, England, Spain, Greece and Belgium, including trophy-laden spells at Chelsea and Barcelona, but he has failed to settle.

Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, which is ranked 8th in the Chinese Super League, hopes Gudjohnsen will boost the team's attack line.

Thanks to hefty investments to boost soccer in the world's most populous country, Chinese teams have become much more attractive to top footballers, making high salary offers that overshadow the players' desire to move to better clubs in Europe.

Chinese clubs have spent more than 100 million US dollars on the international market through March 17, FIFA said, more than five times what it spent in 2013. They have already spent 20 million dollars more this year than in all of 2014.

Just few days before Gudjohnsen's move, Jose Paulo Bezerra Maciel Junior (Paulinho) had joined Guangzhou Evergrande from Tottenham Hotspur on a four-year dael for 14 million euros.

The former Corinthians player, who has 32 caps for Brazil, now is reunited with his former national team coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, at the four-time CSL champions. He is also the third Brazilian player signing for Evergrande this season following Ricardo Goulart and Alan Douglas.

The 23-year-old Goulart's reported 16.2-million-US-dollar move to Evergrande was the highest ever for a Brazilian player going to China.

Other players who have been attracted this year for the high salaries in China include Argentines Hernan Barcos and Dario Conca, as well as Bolivia's Marcelo Moreno and Senegal international Demba Ba.

The trend looks set to continue for some time, as there are reports that Robson de Souza Robinho is in talks with Evergrande for a move after leaving Santos.

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