Liverpool target Alex Teixeira joined Chinese Super League (CSL) side Jiangsu Suning last week for a record Chinese transfer fee of £38.4 million.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker is going to link up with fellow Brazilian Ramires in China as the reigning Chinese FA Cup champions will be motivated to challenge for the league title in the upcoming season, under the guidance of ex-Chelsea player Dan Petrescu.
It has been reported that Paris Saint-Germain Ezequiel Lavezzi is on brink of joining Shanghai Shenhua before the CSL season kicks off in March.
The Chinese league have invested more than £100 million in transfer fees and £180 million in salaries over the past three weeks on established players. Alex Teixeira becomes the latest player to move the mega-rich league after Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Gervinho joined their respective clubs last month.
Fredy Guarin, Paulinho, Demba Ba, Tim Cahill, Stephane Mbia and Asamoah Gyan are some of the European-quality players who are currently playing in China.
The question at hand is that these players who are all in their prime, decide to move away from Europe to head to China. What is it about this league that made these renowned players to play football in Asia? Is it because of the ‘quality’ of Chinese football? Could they have been influenced by the staggering amount of salaries offered to them?
There are currently four CSL teams — Guangzhou Evergrande, Jiangsu Suning, Shandong Luneng Taishan and Shanghai SIPG, that will be playing in the 2016 AFC Champions League. This is the seventh time that all four CSL teams will participate in the group stages since 2003. In 2013 and then again in 2015, five-time CSL winners Guangzhou Evergrande made Chinese football proud by becoming the first club in China to win the AFC Champions League.
The emergence of Chinese football in recent years has conveyed a rather strong statement across all of Asia. The likes of Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea should be threatened with the sudden rise in power of the CSL. It has become a trend for players approaching the tail end of their careers to move to Asia just to maximize their earnings before retiring. However, this may no longer be the case as China is on the verge of revolutionizing football in the East.
“Football is watched here all the time, not just the English League or the Champions League, but also other European leagues. It is an up-and-coming league, which is why they are bringing in such huge names. There will definitely be others as well,” according to Shanghai SIPG manager Sven Goran Eriksson, as reported by Daily Mail.
“The football here is improving too. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) is ambitiously working with the national team to develop talented young players,” he added.
China broke into the scene as a player in the sporting world when they hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. They finished the Games in first place ahead of United States and Russia.
During the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session held in Kuala Lumpur last year, Beijing was selected as host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics. This will be the first time that a city will host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. According also President Xi, he mentioned that it will be China’s goal to one day host the FIFA World Cup.
They’ve got the right system in place and individuals present within the spectrum of their football are saying the right things as well. And if their success in other sports or even outside sports, is to be taken into consideration, you’d expect nothing short of a relentless pursuit of success, from this particular football revolution.
Other posts by Prashant Kharbanda