After a £35 million big money move to Jiangsu Suning for Liverpool target Alex Teixeria, the footballing world was left stunned as the penny finally dropped, could the Chinese football league become a footballing superpower?
It follows moves from players like Ramires from Chelsea as well as Paulinho earlier in the year, but what causes these Premiership quality players to make the move east?
The Brazilian connection is very strong in the Chinese league with Luis Felipe Scolari managing the Chinese superpower Guangzhou Evergrande to a title already along with the Asian Champions League. Scolari signed Paulinho for just under £10 million, but another recognisable face in former Man City striker Robinho also played for Guangzhou this season portraying the wide variety of well-known footballers now playing in China’s top league.
On further inspection around the league you will also come across the former England boss, Sven-Goran Eriksson. The Swede managed big money signings like Demba Ba and Asamoah Gyan and he also insisted that he wanted Wayne Rooney to join him at the club!
“Football has become much, much bigger even in the time I have been here. I think in the years to come it will be huge and a player like Wayne Rooney could only help that development.”
Another huge name to move to the league is Jackson Martinez. The Columbian striker was struggling to make a name for himself in Madrid under the watchful eye of Diego Simeone and opted to make the move east. The hitman will earn £12.5 million pounds annually, which eludes to one of the reasons footballers are making this move, with an unbelievable amounts of money to burn at the top clubs in the country.
As for the former Liverpool target and Brazillian national team hopeful Texieria, Liverpool were only willing to offer him a 45,000 pound a week contract which most would be more than happy with. However, his new side, Jiangsu Suning, who finished 8th in the league last season, could almost quadruple that salary by offering Alex a 195,000 pound a week contract which blew Liverpool out of the water.
With this sort of money to blow, the Chinese leading teams really can start to compete with the top European teams in terms of buying top players. As the big names continue to make the move east it will be interesting to monitor interest in the French and Italian leagues who may perhaps struggle to compete with this new frontrunner of wealth in world football. Despite being on a different level in terms of skill to the European footballing superpowers, which was emphasaised by Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Guanzhou at the Club World Cup, it’s clear the gap is closing between China and the European Leagues and this huge influx of spending won’t have a negative influence on quality in the league.