Mark Clattenburg is one of the few people who won’t want 2016 to end.
The referee has established himself as perhaps the most successful official in Europe, having taken charge of the finals of the FA Cup, Champions League, and European Championships.
Aside from the old joke about the only Englishman reaching the final of the Euros being the man in black, Clattenburg deserves a lot of credit.
In his younger years, he was responsible for his fair share of questionable decisions, but the general consensus now is that he’s the best the Premier League has to offer.
With that in mind, he could be a huge loss if he departs very soon. The 41-year-old has taken charge of games for 12 years, but it could all be coming to an end.
As you may have heard, the Chinese Super League want to make him their latest acquisition. Oscar clearly wasn’t enough to keep them at bay – not surprising, really.
It seemed an innocuous enough rumour, but there may actually be something in it, at least if you listen to what Clattenburg had to say in the Guardian today.
“China are certainly looking to develop their football, looking at their signings and their recruitment,” he said.
“If an opportunity came along – I am contracted to the Premier League – but I have to look at my long-term strategy of my career. How long can I last as a referee? I have been in the Premier League 12 years. It’s been a wonderful 12 years.
“There is no offer on the table but if they made an offer it would be under consideration. But at the moment I still enjoy working for the Premier League and Uefa.”
They say you should always be careful what you wish for. There are probably quite a few Premier League fans who wouldn’t be sorry to see the back of him. No-one actually likes referees, but he’s one of the better ones going.