As you will have no doubt heard over the course of the last few days Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Oscar is heading off to China (or more specifically Shanghai SIPG) for an eye-watering £52 million. While there is no denying Oscar has talent, for Chelsea to get a fee of £52 million for a player behind Hazard, Willian and Pedro is quite frankly mind blowing. The cash floating around in the Chinese Super League is absolutely outrageous. Most fans would agree there is too much money in football, but China have upped the ante in recent years.
Oscar’s move to SIPG would be a new Chinese transfer record although the Shanghai side forked out nearly £50 million for Hulk in the summer. Players such as Alex Teixeria, Jackson Martinez and Ramires have all come to the Chinese Super League in the past 12 months for fees ranging between £20 million and £40 million. The wages for players in the Chinese Super League are outrageous too with Pelle and Hulk being paid more than the likes of Zlatan and Aguero.
In facts stories have surfaced in recent days that Carlos Tevez could be moving to China to become the highest paid player in the world, and that Lionel Messi has been offered 100 million euros a year to play there. To put that into perspective Messi currently earns 22 million euros a year.
What perhaps differentiates the Chinese Super League from say the MLS is that players in their prime are moving there. Hulk is 29, Oscar and Teixeria are both in their mid 20’s. All the foreign players that tend to move to the MLS are usually in their mid 30’s with Lampard, Pirlo and David Villa being obvious examples. So is it really a good thing that players in their prime would prefer to play in a league that paid them the most money rather than leagues that have the most quality?
Well the simple answer is no. The best players in the world should be wanting to test themselves against other players of similar quality. I can understand why Oscar wants to leave Chelsea but why not move to another Premier League team or another team in one of the big leagues in Europe? Also this surely will count against him for a spot in the Brazilian national team as the coach will likely favour a player who is playing in a more traditionally well recognised league.
The argument for playing in the Chinese Super League is pretty simple: money. While some players may claim they are helping an emerging league out it ultimately comes down to money. Indeed Alexis Sanchez is using big money offers from China to try and up his wage on his next Arsenal contract. I can understand the motivation of money and wanting to have financial security for your family but when its the difference between its £200,000 a week and £300,000 a week its hard to argue the lesser offer still does not offer you financial security while playing in a better league.
Players have turned down big money moves to China. Alvaro Negredo, for example, had a number of offers from China which would have paid a lot more than the eventual move he made to Middlesbrough. You have to commend the fact that Negredo chose a return to the Premier League over a move to China. The fact that I’m a Middlesbrough fan makes the move even more commendable.
Overall its clear that more and more big names will be attracted to the Chinese Super League due to the promise of ridiculous wages. Perhaps eventually it will become a league of a decent quality but that seems a long way off at the moment.