China’s Guangzhou Evergrande are the most valuable football club in the world at £2.36 billion, a figure which makes them worth more than Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, according to China’s official press agency Xinhua.

Xinhua claimed: “The Evergrande’s transaction per share values at 55 yuan (£5.98), selling 36,000 shares for 1.98 million yuan (£211,000) 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 (£2.36 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 £2.26 billion, followed by arch-rivals Barca (£2.22 billion) and Manchester United (£2.18 billion).

World’s Top 10 Most Valuable Football Clubs: 2015 Club Value (£)
Real Madrid 2.26 billion
Barcelona 2.22 billion
Manchester United 2.18 billion
Bayern Munich 1.65 billion
Manchester City 970 million
Chelsea 960 million
Arsenal 920 million
Liverpool 690 million
Juventus 588 million
Milan 545 million

Chinese clubs made some significant signings during the winter transfer market as major European stars were persuaded to move to China in huge-money deals. Amonf those who headed east in lucrative deals were Chelsea’s Ramires, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Alex Teixeira and Atletico Madrid’s Jackson Martinez.

Colombian Martinez was signed by Guangzhou for €42 million (£31.8 million).

The deep pockets of the Chinese Super League clubs pose a major headache for European clubs who, up until now, had the field to themselves when it came to picking up the world’s best players.