Taxing toll on transfers
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.
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