Is it going to become more of the norm though, players taking the cash on offer in China & ME early in their career (22/23) then moving back to Europe @ 27/28 and having 5 years in their prime? You have almost guaranteed playing time instead of being in & out of the team which is the most important part of a players development at that stage. You’re also set up financially for the rest of your life taking some of the pressure off when you do go back to Europe and, due to injury or a poor playing career, may not be offered at the end of your career.
Axel Witsel is a good example, one which Yannick Carrasco looks set to follow. Paulinho also slotted seamlessly back into the Barca side. Oscar may be another to move back.
On Degenek, would his development be that hindered going from Serbia to Saudi Arabia? All of the good Serbian players have left to play in other leagues by his age (if he was 2 or 3 years younger then I would say he should stay) to continue progressing. With their European journey done and 9 points clear in the league (15 ahead of Partizan) I don’t see much wrong with the move. With Bailey Wright & Matt Spiranovic coming back to fitness as well as the option of playing Milligan at CB, his place in the NT is covered if he regresses.