China’s domestic football is indefinitely suspended because of the virus outbreak, which has killed nearly 2,800 people in the country and has now spread around the world.
Harry Belford Spencer, co-founder of First Pick Group, a Shanghai-based sports advisory company, said the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus had put off prospective foreign signings and dissuaded Chinese clubs from doing business.
“You are not going to invest a lot of money as a club if you don’t really know what’s happening,” said the Briton, who is involved in the Chinese transfer scene.
“You are signing these players with the intention of them playing earlier (from the start of the season in February), and there’s now this delay.
“You don’t want to build up a big wage bill and that’s probably why you see a guy like Ighalo joining United because why would Shanghai Shenhua want him on their books paying a salary when they’re not playing football?”