Football 3 years ago

The Chinese Super League: A sensational revolution

  • The Chinese Super League: A sensational revolution

    Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira (L) vies with Paris Saint-Germain's French midfielder Adrien Rabiot during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Paris-Saint-Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk on December 8, 2015 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE / AFP / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Chinese Super League: A sensational revolution

    Roma's forward from Ivory Coast Gervinho celebrates after scoring during the Italian football match AS Roma vs SS Lazio at the Olympic stadium on November 8, 2015 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Chinese Super League: A sensational revolution

    STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Ramires of Chelsea and Glenn Whelan of Stoke City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • The Chinese Super League: A sensational revolution

    MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Jackson Arley Martinez (L) of Atletico de Madrid runs to score their opening goal ahead Valencia CF players Aderllan Santos (2ndR) and Shkodran Mustafi (R) during the La Liga amtch between Club Atletico de Madrid and Valencia CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

  • The Chinese Super League: A sensational revolution

    Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho holds up a jersey of teammate Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zou Zheng during the third-place Club World Cup football match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Yokohama on December 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

No matter where someone would be from, young children would always dream about one day donning the prestigious jerseys of teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United in England, Bayern Munich in Germany and Real Madrid or Barcelona in Spain.

These have been some of the most dominant forces in World Football for decades and decades, and would be a dream for many football fanatics to play for even if they weren't receiving a paycheck. 

Teams like Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have undergone significant transformations in the past decade and growing into becoming frequent European contenders as more money has been available to each club through changes in ownership.

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Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has constantly brought world-class players to London, leading to three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy while Manchester City and PSG have all experienced a larger degree of domestic success in recent years. 

City is owned by the wealthy and Saudi owned City Football Group and PSG is owned by Qatar Sport Investments.

However the latest challenge to large clubs in securing the talents of world class footballers have been revealed to be from relatively unknown teams in the Chinese Super League. Signs of the league's ability to splash the cash and match it with the European leaders was largely ignored when current Chinese and Asian Champions, Guangzhou Evergrande forked out 10 million pounds for the services of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho, who infamously flopped at Tottenham Hotspur.

Recent years have also seen the likes of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Robinho all feature in the Chinese Super League, albeit past their prime.

This transfer window in particular has been a huge success for Chinese football which could see the league's crowds rapidly rise following the coups of Gervinho from Roma, Ramires from Chelsea, Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid and most recently, Liverpool's January target, Alex Teixeira.

Several followers of European leagues have taken to social media to voice their displeasure at the career decisions of these young 'money-grabbing' and so-called 'selfish' players who according to them are wasting their potential and throwing their careers and high status in the footballing world away.

Various different views have been publicly portrayed from fans of European clubs back home, including anonymous Australian fans who are pleased to see their fellow Asian counterpart's main league receiving some huge recognition, "It's a huge step forward for the Chinese league (as it) provides the opportunity for further big name signings in other Asian leagues as well as giving the lesser known leagues a boost in status." Another supported this statement, "The lure of more money has allowed the league to promote a more youthful competition rather than where older players head prior to retirement."

A separate Australian follower of the UEFA Champions League stated his concern for the development of these players and their talent in the Chinese league, "playing in a more challenging league like the English Premier League would benefit younger players more than the Chinese super league and fans would also prefer to watch them work their way up to mixing it with some of the toughest clubs in the world." 

Zenit St Petersburg's Hulk, PSG's Ezequiel Lavezzi and Chelsea's Oscar have also been identified as other transfer targets.  None of the players that have just secured the move to China are over the age of thirty and arguably still contain potential to be seen on a larger stage than the Chinese league. China is quickly becoming a new haven for want away star players who are appearing more and more likely to be easily lured away by substantially large wages.

The money that's being offered by Chinese clubs is obviously a primary attraction for these players and these high-profile moves develops the idea that European heavyweights have a battle on their hands to retain their superstars or lure a player away from the temptation of China.

The dreams of footballers battling for glory on the biggest stage (Europe) is possibly fading, with the promise of money trumping the career motives or aims of players. The likeliness of Brazilian attacker Alex Teixeira joining his favoured destination of Liverpool was a prominent rumour of the transfer window. Now his sudden move to China is widely being seen as a dent to his promising international career due to the league's lack of popularity or worldwide coverage.

However the Chinese league is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with and the chances of Chinese clubs securing more sensational signings in the years to come appear to only be increasing from this month's transfer events. 

This also proves that there is hope for other Asian countries to enhance their worldwide reputation and grow in quality in the process, therefore benefitting their national footballing organisations with financial revenue, guaranteed to increase from larger attendances at games and attention from possible investors from other footballing continents and their leagues and clubs.

While the overall quality of the Chinese league can be constantly questioned, the number of quality players being signed is only assisting develop the league's reputation into a much more competitive competition for the future. Although at this stage these transfers may not be beneficial for younger players such as the 26 year old Teixeira and their growth by playing against small Chinese clubs with squads littered with relatively unknown athletes in comparison to the star-studded English, French, German, Italian and Spanish clubs.

It will be a very interesting issue for the coming months to learn how these major signings will fare in the Chinese leagues and whether more stunning transfer coups will be revealed next transfer window.

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