Will any Sunderland or Newcastle stars leave for cash-rich Chinese Super League before today's transfer deadline?

Cheick Tiote
Cheick Tiote

Transfer fees have soared through the roof this summer.

And one factor behind the rise in cash being splashed out by clubs up and down the land is the rise of the cash-rich Chinese Super League.

Papiss Ciss

Papiss Ciss

President Xi Jinping is fully behind plans to make his country a football superpower, with staggering sums being spent on the likes of Hulk, Jackson Martinez and Graziano Pelle.

Pelle is the latest player to leave the Premier League, with his £13million move from Southampton to Shandong Luneng netting the Italian international a whopping £13.5million-a-year deal - putting him among the top five best paid players in the world.

The Chinese season runs from April to November and their transfer window closes today - but will any Sunderland or Newcastle United stars be swapping the North East for China?

Well, one already has in the shape of Papiss Cisse. But it seems highly unlikely any others will follow in the coming hours, especially from the Sunderland squad.

Cisse, though, did leave Tyneside to join Shandong Luneng, where he will partner Pelle up front.

The 31-year-old striker signed for the Chinese Super League club for an undisclosed fee, leaving Tyneside after four-and-a-half years.

Cisse joined NUFC in January 2012 from SC Freiburg and scored 44 goals in 131 appearances for the club.

His former teammate Cheick Tiote almost moved to China in January but the deal fell through.

Tiote is looking for new challenge away from St James’s Park though – and Rafa Benitez won’t stand in his way if a bid came in.

Could he move to China? He would be the most likely candidate given the midfielder came close to joining Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in January.

But the proposed £4million move broke down after weeks of talks.

The Ivory Coast international forced his way back into the team at the expense of £12million January signing Jonjo Shelvey in the latter weeks of the campaign.

And the 30-year-old has just a year left on his St James’s Park contract. Watch this space...