Os­car cleared for record break­ing Shang­hai move

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI:

Chelsea’s Os­car said he was look­ing for­ward to join­ing his “new fam­ily” yesterday af­ter Shang­hai SIPG sealed terms on what will be China’s fifth Asian-record sign­ing in less than a year. The 25-year-old Brazil mid­fielder, snared for a re­ported £60 mil­lion (70.5 mil­lion euros), be­comes just the lat­est top player in his prime lured to the mega-rich Chi­nese Su­per League. He is due to fi­nal­ize the deal in Shang­hai in the “com­ing days”, said the Chi­nese club, which is coached by exTot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager An­dre Vil­las-Boas.

“I’m very happy to sign to SIPG. This is an im­por­tant day for me to join to my new fam­ily in China,” Os­car said in a video state­ment re­leased by SIPG. As well as Asia’s record sign­ing, Os­car will also be­come Chelsea’s big­gest sale, beat­ing com­pa­triot David Luiz’s £50 mil­lion move to Paris Saint Ger­main in 2014.

Chi­nese Su­per League clubs have al­ready splashed out more than $400 mil­lion on play­ers this year, af­ter Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping laid out a vi­sion of turn­ing the coun­try into a foot­ball power. Chi­nese teams broke the Asian record three times in just 10 days in the Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary trans­fer win­dow, and moved it still higher when Brazil’s Hulk joined SIPG for 55.8 mil­lion euros in July. Sig­nif­i­cantly, Chi­nese clubs are now competing with Euro­pean ri­vals for world-class play­ers, who are opt­ing for China’s as­tro­nom­i­cal pay pack­ets over the chance of a ca­reer in foot­ball’s top leagues.

Twenty-some­things

Os­car’s ex-Chelsea team-mate Ramires 29, and Alex Teix­eira, 26, are other highly rated Brazil­ians in their twen­ties to join the Su­per League for record sums this year. Other worl­drenowned play­ers in China in­clude Hulk and Jack­son Martinez, both 30, and Eze­quiel Lavezzi and Graziano Pelle, both 31. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, some of the play­ers are now among the high­est paid foot­ballers in the world.

A Chelsea state­ment said Os­car will join SIPG at the start of the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow, not­ing he has won the Premier League, League Cup and Europa League ti­tles dur­ing his fourand-a-half years at the Lon­don club. “Shang­hai SIPG has for­mally com­pleted the trans­fer agree­ment of Brazil foot­ball player Os­car with Chelsea,” the Chi­nese club said on its of­fi­cial social media ac­count.

“Os­car will ar­rive in Shang­hai in the com­ing days to of­fi­cially join SIPG.” He has been a tar­get of Shang­hai’s new man­ager Vil­las-Boas since the Por­tuguese man­aged Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in the 2012/13 sea­son, but opted to join Chelsea in­stead. Last week Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, when asked to com­ment on Os­car’s im­pend­ing trans­fer, called China’s fi­nan­cial mus­cle “a dan­ger for all teams in the world”.

Chi­nese state media has also warned of a “bub­ble” de­vel­op­ing in China’s foot­ball in­dus­try, say­ing to­tal spend­ing this year had topped $1 bil­lion. Com­mu­nist Party mouth­piece the Peo­ple’s Daily said 8 bil­lion yuan ($1.15 bn) had been spent in 2016, a sum which “far ex­ceeded the eco­nomic value brought to the league”. The break­neck spend­ing shows no sign of slow­ing, how­ever, with Ar­gen­tine for­ward Car­los Tevez also ex­pected to move to China when the trans­fer win­dow opens in Jan­uary. — AFP

STOKE CITY: In this Tues­day, Oct 27, 2015 file photo Chelsea’s Os­car runs with the ball dur­ing the English League Cup Fourth Round soc­cer match be­tween Stoke City and Chelsea at the Bri­tan­nia Sta­dium. — AP

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