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Could Radja Nainggolan Really be Tempted by Move to China?

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Well, this is a new one.

AS Roma v US Sassuolo - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

For years now we’ve labored under the constant speculation that some well endowed club may steal our dear Radja Nainggolan from under our noses. After all, in some ways, Nainggolan really is too good for this club. By any measure, Nainggolan (when at his best) is among the top five to ten midfielders in the world. Few players possess his balance of strength, pace, creativity and defensive acumen. So much of what Roma has accomplished over the past few years would have been impossible without his contributions.

Naturally this did not go unnoticed in the footballing world, as seemingly every summer we’ve dealt with the prying eyes of Chelsea, Juventus and a host of others. Fortunately for us, Roma was able to resist those beck and calls, thanks in large part to Nainggolan’s love for the Roman lifestyle. However, now that Nainggolan has crossed the magical 30-year-old threshold, it may be now or never for Radja; is he truly happy chasing Juventus and Napoli or would he leap at one last chance for greener pastures?

Given all that he has meant to this club, few among us could fault him if he decided to track down a Premiership or La Liga title, but China!? Would Nainggolan really ditch Roma to play in the Chinese Super League?

Well, if you believe the folks at la Gazzetta dello Sport, yes, yes he would. Football Italia passed along a report from the GdS that points towards a rather large bid from Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande. Fabio Cannavaro’s club is reportedly ready to offer Roma upwards of €50 million for Nainggolan, handing the player a tidy €12 million salary to boot.

That’s an awful lot of money, but I still don’t buy this rumor, which is largely fueled by a) the holiday break, and b) Roma’s stupid decision to suspend Nainggolan following his New Year’s Eve celebration. Is Nainggolan, one of the most competitive men to ever suit up for this team, really ready to take such a massive step down? If they’re willing to give him €12 million now, who’s to say they wouldn’t give a substantial portion of that in two to three years time?

Nainggolan can play out the autumn of his football career in any number of places, but for now, Radja remains firmly in his prime, so I don’t believe for one minute he’ll make the switch to China. Now, don’t mistake it, the chances he leaves for Chelsea or some other loftier location remain quite high; he’s being chastised for behaving like a normal adult and woefully miscast under EDFs tactics, so it’s not as if things are copasetic between Nainggolan and Roma, but this rumor doesn’t hold water.