Jackson Irvine of Burton Albion gets past fellow Australian Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield.
Jackson Irvine of Burton Albion gets past fellow Australian Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield. Gareth Copley

Socceroo reportedly said no to huge China offer

JACKSON Irvine has revealed he turned down a $160,000-a-week pay rise to move to China in order to remain with Burton Albion, according to The Sun newspaper in the UK.

Despite transfer speculation in January, the 23-year-old Socceroo remained with Championship side as he hopes to one day play in the top-flight.

"I want a career I can be proud of. Playing in the Premier League remains my lifelong dream," said the Australian midfielder, who has scored eight goals this season.

According to the report, Irvine was targeted by a number of Chinese Super League clubs after unexpected changes in January to how Chinese teams could recruit foreign players.

Previously Chinese clubs could recruit five foreign players, including one from Asia, but after a change to the rule, clubs can now sign five players of any background.

The catch is that only three foreigners can start at the same time with up to five in the 18-player matchday squad. In the past clubs could play three foreigners plus an Asian player.

However, according to the report, Irvine's seven appearances for Australia means he qualified as a "home-grown" Chinese player, and that led to a scramble in China to sign him.

When asked why he turned down a life-changing $8 million deal, he said: "I thought only two people in Britain knew about that - and one of them was my dad!

"When you see what was being offered, it's hard to put it into words.

"It's not a decision a lot of people will ever be faced with. When you are it makes you ask a lot of questions about yourself. But hopefully you make the decision you are going to be most content with.

"I didn't have an awful lot of time to decide. But it's been and gone now and I'm fully focused on the job in hand - and that's keeping Burton in the Championship."

Irvine added: "People can say things about footballers and about what motivates them. You have to respect why people make decisions in football, everyone has different goals.

"People close to me know the way I live my life. Crazy money would be wasted on me.

"I sincerely hope I never make decisions based purely on financial gain. I want to do things I want to do and sometimes it takes tough decisions to get there."

News Corp Australia

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