China's Guangzhou Evergrande is now reportedly the most valuable football club in the world at $3.35 billion, ahead of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, according to China’s official press agency Xinhua.
Per Goal's Chris Davie, it is the first time the Chinese Super League club's value has been announced after it was listed on China's National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in November 2015 and its first transaction of shares were completed on Tuesday.
Davie passed on the alleged value from Xinhua: "The Evergrande's transaction per share values at 55 yuan ($8.50), selling 36,000 shares for 1.98 million yuan ($300,000) in the club's first trade after being listed on November, 2015 in China's NEEQ."
"In this price, Evergrande's market value amounts to 21.8 billion yuan ($3.35 billion) in a total of 396.73 million shares."
In its annual report last May, Forbes magazine listed Real as the most valuable club in the world at $3.26 billion, followed by La Liga rivals Barca ($3.16 billion) and Premier League giants United ($3.10 billion).
See the top 10 most valuable clubs from the 2015 report below:
|World's Most Valuable Football Clubs: 2015|
|Real Madrid||3.26 billion|
|Manchester United||3.10 billion|
|Bayern Munich||2.35 billion|
|Manchester City||1.38 billion|
|AC Milan||775 million|
Guangzhou have been Chinese champions for the last five seasons and remain the team to beat this year with the new term having kicked off last week, per the Guardian's John Duerden.
Far East clubs made some significant waves during the winter transfer market as major European stars were persuaded to up sticks for China in huge-money deals—including Chelsea's Ramires, Shakhtar Donetsk's Alex Teixeira and Atletico Madrid's Jackson Martinez.
Colombian Martinez was snapped up by Guangzhou for €42 million (£31.8 million) and was the first major move in the winter, announcing Chinese clubs as major players in the transfer market, per Bleacher Report's Dean Jones:
Given the reported value of Guangzhou, it seems they and their fellow Chinese clubs will remain competitive with big European outfits for transfers in the long-term.
Unlike the USA's Major League Soccer, the Chinese Super League is seemingly looking to attract European players still in their prime—Martinez, Teixeira and Ramires are all in their 20s.
This could cause the likes of Real, Barca and United significant headaches as there could now be numerous other competitors in the market for the big-money players, potentially offering even greater salaries.