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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's China move scuppered by transfer rules?

Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang now appears unlikely to be the subject of a bidding war between Chinese Super League (CSL) sides Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Guoan.

Both clubs have been linked with a move for the Gabon international and a fee of €70 million has been touted in the Chinese media.

That, however, far exceeds the RMB 45m (€5.8m) cap imposed on foreign transfers by the Chinese Football Association ahead of the last season's summer window, and the authorities have stepped in to remind both clubs that the regulation remains in place.

"Recent reports claiming two Chinese Super League clubs will compete on price for a foreign player have attracted a lot of attention," the CFA said in a statement issued on their website on Tuesday.

"The Chinese Football Association has paid close attention to this matter and has sent a letter to the respective clubs to ask for an explanation. The CFA will deal seriously with any violation of its regulations."

Clubs who spend more than RMB 45m on a player from overseas are subject to a 100 percent levy on the transfer fee, with the regulation having been successful in cooling the market last year.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to leave Dortmund this year.

After Oscar had joined Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea for an Asian record €60m fee in January, speculation was rife that numerous high profile players were destined to sign for CSL clubs.

The levy brought much of that speculation to an end after it was imposed in June, with Anthony Modeste's two-year loan deal from Cologne to Tianjin Quanjian the only deal of note done last summer.

But, with six months to look for ways to circumnavigate the regulations, speculation has increased once again that a number of well-known foreign players are destined to join Chinese clubs ahead of the 2018 season.

In light of the renewed activity, the Chinese Football Association warned clubs the regulations remain unchanged ahead of the new campaign.

"In order to regulate the transfer market of foreign players and guide clubs towards making rational investments as well as creating a healthy environment for Chinese football, the CFA will maintain the levy fee policy in relation to buying new players," the statement added.

"We will monitor the transfer market ahead of the new season. The CFA will not permit any violation and will not go easy on those who break the rules."

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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