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Real Madrid war horse Pepe is reportedly heading for the club's exit after being offered a contract worth more than twice his current salary to leave for the Chinese Super League.
Axar.az reports citing to local sport news agencies.
According to J.I. Garcia Ochoa of Spanish newspaper Marca, Pepe has been offered €10 million (£8.5 million) after tax to join cash-rich Hebei China Fortune, who are managed by former Real chief Manuel Pellegrini.
To put those earnings into perspective, Pepe would stand to earn around £165,000 per week after tax, eclipsing the €4.5 million (£3.8 million) per year he earns at Real, equal to around £73,000 per week after tax.
Ochoa added Pepe's preference is to remain with Real, but the club have refused to meet his demands for a new two-year deal, instead offering a new one-year contract with the option of an additional year available.
But with his current contract set to expire at the end of this season, Pepe may be tempted to secure a more lucrative future elsewhere, particularly as he prepares to turn 34 in February.
It's not as if Real manager Zinedine Zidane couldn't do with the Portugal international's services, either, after ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan noted understudy Raphael Varane hasn't been at this best of late:
Los Blancos may have already found their replacement for the central defender, however. Alvaro de la Rosa of Spanish daily AS reported Jesus Vallejo—currently on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt—will be tasked with becoming Pepe's successor.
The 19-year-old Zaragoza native has been impressive during his loan stay in Germany, and Eintracht boss Niko Kovac was quoted by De La Rosa and paid his youngster high praise: "It's madness, I've never seen a player like him. He sees things so clearly; he's 19, and it looks like he's 30."
There is one lifeline for Real in their hopes to keep Pepe, however, in that he's less likely to make Portugal's 2018 FIFA World Cup squad if he moves to China, meaning they may yet have a hope of keeping him in Madrid.
2016.12.27 / 15:48