Tax­ing toll on trans­fers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI — Wayne Rooney led the big names linked with a move to China, but the only ar­rivals be­fore the lat­est trans­fer win­dow shut last Fri­day were striker An­thony Modeste and a cast mostly of free­bies, loa­nees and has-beens.

A new 100 per­cent tax on for­eign im­ports and lastminute changes to trans­fer rules would ap­pear to be the main rea­son for the un­der­whelm­ing busi­ness.

A source close to talks to bring an English Pre­mier League star to China said con­fu­sion over the rules had greatly com­pli­cated the pro­posed move and ne­go­ti­a­tions even­tu­ally broke down.

Chi­nese Su­per League clubs shelled out record­break­ing sums in the win­ter win­dow, herald­ing the ar­rival for $69 mil­lion of Brazil­ian star Os­car from Chelsea to Shang­hai SIPG.

Ar­gen­tine Car­los Tevez joined Shang­hai Shen­hua on sim­i­larly world-lead­ing wages, while Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional Axel Wit­sel, Brazil­ian for­ward Alexan­dre Pato and Nige­rian John Obi Mikel all left Euro­pean clubs for China on hand­some con­tracts.

But the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, fear­ing do­mes­tic play­ers were be­ing squeezed out of start­ing XIs, in May pro­posed a pro­hib­i­tive rule that ev­ery time a club in debt spent on an im­port, they would have to pay the same amount again to a fund for de­vel­op­ing the lo­cal game.

Even as the sum­mer win­dow opened on June 19, the CFA was tweak­ing its pol­icy, say­ing that the 100 per­cent levy would kick in on for­eign play­ers cost­ing more than 45 mil­lion yuan ($6.6 mil­lion) and Chi­nese over 20 mil­lion yuan ($3 mil­lion).

Tian­jin Quan­jian, strongly linked in the win­ter with Chelsea striker Diego Costa, seemed de­ter­mined to snare a for­ward.

It got its man in 29-year-old French marks­man Modeste from Cologne, seem­ingly by­pass­ing the new trans­fer rules by sign­ing him on what Ger­man daily Bild re­ported was a two-year loan for about $9.5 mil­lion, with an op­tion to buy for $34 mil­lion.

Rooney left Manch­ester United but in­stead of the CSL re­turned to Ever­ton, while Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang — also ru­mored to be off to China — re­mains at Borus­sia Dort­mund.

Aside from Modeste, Chi­nese clubs did limited busi­ness dur­ing the four-week trans­fer win­dow, adding play­ers on loan, for free or for rel­a­tively mea­ger fees from will­ing sell­ers.

Jiangsu Sun­ing, man­aged by Ital­ian Fabio Capello, snapped up Cameroon for­ward Ben­jamin Moukandjo for a re­ported $6 mil­lion — just avoid­ing the 100 per­cent charge.

CSL cham­pion Guangzhou Ever­grande re-signed Brazil­ian jour­ney­man Muriqui on a free trans­fer but its best busi­ness was hold­ing on to for­mer Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder Paulinho af­ter Barcelona be­came keen on the Brazil­ian.

Slove­nian mid­fielder Kevin Kampl’s move from Ger­man side Bayer Lev­erkusen to Bei­jing Guo’an fell through at the last minute af­ter the clubs failed to agree on terms of pay­ment.

Dal­las Cowboys, Ma­jor League Base­ball’s New York Yan­kees and the English Pre­mier League’s Manch­ester United by

mag­a­zine. Last sea­son Barcelona re­lin­quished its league ti­tle to Real Madrid and was knocked out of the Cham­pi­ons League at the quar­ter­fi­nal stage by Ju­ven­tus, who went on to lose to Madrid in the fi­nal.

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