Will Aston Villa be able to ship off their unwanted stars to China?
Xia Jiantong, the chairman of Recon Group, who has agreed to buy English soccer club Aston Villa
Aston Villa's disappointing season has left them needing to give their squad a much needed clear out.
The club have £50 million to spend on new players, The BBC report, and all the incomings are likely to mean players being shipped out.
Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Veretout
Yet with players like Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, and Gabby Agbonlahor on high wages in comparison to their performances last season, getting rid of them may not be so simple.
Unless they can find a way to send them all the way to China...
China is the homeland of new owner Dr Tony Xia, and is a country currently investing huge sums of money in buying footballers.
Paulinho celebrates scoring for Guangzhao Evergrande
Ramires, Demba Ba, Paulinho, and Jackson Martinez are among the big names to move to Chinese clubs over the past year, while West Ham managed to offload flop Nikica Jelavic for £4 million in January.
A brief interview posted on the Chinese Embassy website last month with an unnamed 'Chinese Ministry Spokesman' involved a question about Aston Villa.
Q: What is your comment on a Chinese businessman' s purchase of the English football club Aston Villa? Is that part of the Chinese government's football development plan?
A: There has been a flow of information about exchanges and cooperation between China and some football powers over recent years. The cooperation you mentioned is conducted in accordance with business rules. We hope that all the cooperation will play a positive role in promoting China's interaction with foreign countries in the field of football and help develop China's football.
Investing in Chinese football by promoting the game abroad could be facilitating deals for clubs in the country to buy players.
Aston Villa's new owner has no connection with any club in particular in the country, preventing any conflict of interest, but the club's increased profile in the country could be a gateway to potential deals.
Villa could seek to sell their unwanted players to clubs in China, allowing the players to earn highly, and netting good fees for them along the way, reducing their own wage bill.
Chinese clubs are likely to continue their spending this summer, and Villa are in a good position to take advantage.
Aston Villa fans with Gabby Agbonlahor masks