A FOOTBALL stadium has been left abandoned just four years after the club it hosted launched a mega-money attempt to sign Gareth Bale.
The Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in China, which has a capacity of 61,443, was opened in 2005 ahead of the National Games of China.
Jiangsu FC moved there two years later ahead of the rapid rise of the Chinese Super League, which began after President Xi Jinping announced his wish to turn the country into a footballing super power.
Several Super League teams – including Jiangsu – subsequently went on wild shopping sprees with the likes of Brazil icon Hulk, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar and Premier League icon Carlos Tevez all completing transfers.
Jiangsu went on to sign in-demand stars Ramires and Alex Teixeira, but their most audacious transfer attempt was launched in 2019.
A staggering deal worth £1million-a-week was allegedly offered to the Welshman, who ended up staying at the Santiago Bernabeu for another three years.
Despite the failed transfer attempt, Jiangsu went on to win the Super League for the first time the following season.
However, just a matter of months later the club ceased operating due to financial issues.
Their financial situation was so bad that they even auctioned off the team bus for cash, according to BBC Sport.
A number of teams – including Jiangsu – suffered financial issues after the Covid pandemic.
Strict policies in China led to reduced fixture lists and matches that were played behind closed doors.
Broadcast and sponsorship revenues then quickly plummeted.
Hebei FC also disbanded earlier this year after debt-ridden owners struggled to pay the club’s utility bills.
Prior to it’s collapse, some employees offered to work for the club for free.
The disappearance of the club means their Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium home now lies virtually abandoned with no regular sporting events held at the flashy stadium.
At its peak, more than the 60,704 who watch Arsenal at the Emirates would pile into the venue to watch Jiangsu FC in action.