Is The Chinese League Really That Super?
Another transfer window has seen another batch of players be linked with moves to the Chinese Super League, following in the footsteps of the likes of Hulk, Oscar & Graziano Pelle. Whether or not the move to China signals the end of a players career is yet to be seen, but questions have to be asked of the integrity of some of the guys who are going over there solely to be on the same pay packet as Neymar & co.
There are no doubts that European football is somehow to blame for this though. When you look at the growth of the MLS, it's no coincidence that this has come at a time when the European big guns are heading over to the states for pre-season tournaments with even the likes of Premier League strugglers Swansea getting involved. This could also be the driving reason behind Asia's insatiable appetite to have the best of the best. Passion aside, football means big business these days and you only have to look at Juventus' new logo to see that the brand is more important than the game and with an ever growing fanbase in the East, the businessmen would be stupid to pass up the opportunity to make a buck or two.
Although it's not the business dealings of Shanghai SIPG that interests us but rather why some of Europe's best are choosing to turn their back on the most competitive football leagues to earn millions elsewhere. Money does however talk, and so far in this transfer window, Chelsea's player of the year Oscar has opted to go elsewhere and there's talk of his old teammate Costa following suit so there is obviously something appealing about it.
A move to China doesn't come without it's risks though, you only have to ask Demba Ba about that. Playing with and against amateur footballers can cause havoc where injuries are concerned and no matter how incredible these pitches are, tackles will undoubtedly go awry. Aside from the risks to a player's physical condition, the biggest risk of all comes to their careers. Football has been a part of European life for over 100 years and millions upon millions of people turn out each and every week to watch their teams play in the flesh and on TV so to turn your back on this is quite the risk. There is no guarantee that you will not just disappear into the abyss, never to be seen again. Does anybody remember Ramires? Stephane M'Bia?
There is hope however, it's recently been announced that the Chinese FA are to implement a series of measure to combat the "irrational" spending by clubs on transfer fees and wages of foreign players which is of course harming the grassroots development of Chinese talent and surely that's the whole idea of pumping so much money into the league in the first place - to make the national team a global powerhouse? If the Chinese FA manage to implement similar rules to those in place within the MLS, the Chinese Super League may become just that.