With Europe’s big names and seasoned professional making the jump over Asia on a a regular basis in the past couple of months, I look into the reasons behind this dramatic change, and what the Chinese Super League really hopes to achieve.
Firstly much like when clubs such as Monaco, Anzhi Makhachkala and Dynamo Kiev, ridiculous amounts of money seems to have been thrown at unexpecting players in hope of persuading them to make the move. Reasons beckon for why such professionals would relinquish the thrill of top standard football for the Chinese mega bucks. One thing many of these players will be expecting is an upturn in fortunes due to the influx of new talent. The MLS is now a competitive league that produces widely watched ‘soccer’ year on year. Bringing in household names like Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Gervinho will only improve the numbers at grass-roots level.
Of course you have to remember that this is China’s second shot at football stardom. Chelsea duo Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka lead the line for Shanghai Shenhua in a short six month spell. Former Ivory Coast captain Drogba was on a reported £193,000 a week, with Anelka on similarly stupid money. This time it seems as if the 16 team championship has gone full throttle into the January transfer market. Aside from the obvious names, Alex Texeira was snatched from under the noses of Liverpool, Birmingham’s League Cup here Obafemi Martins has departed Seattle Sounders for China, and many other names from across Europe have also done so. Here’s a full list of this January’s Chinese Super League transfers.
Football is obviously big money in so many ways. With ticket prices going through the roof and advertising producing ludicrous amounts of money, China has got in on the cat to earn a chunk of change. With such big names performing, they will hope to get the matches hitting out TV screens much like the MLS has done relatively recently. The raised awareness of a previously unknown league will only give another incentive for playesr to move overseas, Dimitri Payet recently rejected over $200,000 a week to play for an un-named Chinese club. With this sort of money flying around, it could only be a matter of time before we see another footballing superpower.