Football’s dragon on the rise
The 2016 Chinese Super League is flexing its financial muscle, and many big names have packed for Peking, writes Timothy Molobi
Move over America and Europe, the Chinese Super League is fast establishing itself as the newest destination of choice for top international football players.
China is already an emerging superpower, and the country is now also re-emerging as an Asian football superpower. Awash in money, it could soon rival Europe’s richest clubs in the pursuit of the best talent.
According to the Transfermarkt website, Chinese clubs have now spent more than €250 million (R4.4 billion) on players in the country’s current trading window, which runs till later this month – February 26.
That’s more than teams have shelled out in any other league on the planet, including the English Premier League, which is regarded as football’s richest.
With a population of about 1.4 billion and the world’s second-biggest economy, China has been lagging behind when it comes to football.
Europe has long been seen as the preferred destination for the world’s best players, but they will think twice after China broke two records in the player transfer market last week.
Guangzhou Evergrande forked out €42 million to secure Colombian striker Jackson Martinez from Atlético Madrid in the Spanish La Liga.
This megadeal was broken a few days later when Shakhtar Donetsk striker Alex Teixeira joined Jiangsu Suning for €50 million.
Earlier, during the January player transfer window, Brazilian international midfielder Ramires joined the same club in a €32 million deal.
Côte d’Ivoire and AS Roma striker Gervinho also completed a move to Hebei China Fortune last month.
Other well-known Africans in the Super League are Demba Ba of Senegal