The January transfer window was needless to say quite dull, no real major signings, few shipped out on loan and one or two shock moves, but for the Chinese Super League, it was a transfer window never to forget. It may be the transfer window that the Chinese national league stamped its mark on the game with some serious signings, and with big names comes big money. Of course the Chinese economy Is growing rapidly and it seems they’re investing into markets where the people will most certainly put their hands in their pockets, football. Surely we could all think the biggest stars in the world are capable of having their price, and are all waiting with their agents for a big money deal in the Asian continent, however the Chinese Super League has a foreign player policy where only 4 foreign players can represent a club. I guess this stops us from worrying about the thought of real fantasy football where the endless supply of cash can attract any player from anywhere. The world’s biggest stage. As of yet they may not have stamped their names in the history books on the international scene as they have only qualified for one world cup, but when it comes to the nation’s top tier of football it is defiantly not shy of some huge named players. Fairly new to the world, the Asian nation introduced the Chinese Super League in 2004, with 12 teams taking part in the newly developed professional league. Throughout the year scandals such as match fixing and corruption plagued the league and low attendance were a common occurrence.
Flash forward to the 2011 Season in China and thing began to turn around for the Chinese Super League. The CFA (Chinese Football Association) had implied an anti-corruption movement to clean up the leagues image and attract superstars from across the globe. It was the year the names would all come to the large nation as it attracted many players, and fans all over the world were confused as to where these players were actually going. They were packing their boots and heading to China for the cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou as they invested deeply into attracting foreign flair and appealing players to fill the stadiums. The first influx of players arrived at Guangzhou Evergrande F.C. Dario Conca was signed from Fluminese of Brazil’s Serie A for a fee of $10 Million, the following year striker Elkeson of Botafogo was to pen a four-year deal worth €5.7 Million. Although humorously they now represent Shanghai SIPG, the Super League rivals. On the 19th of June the world turned their attention towards the city of Shanghai where they captured Chelsea Legend Didier Drogba on a two-year deal. The deal was set to earn the African €200,00 a week, an early sign into the serious financial focus of the Chinese Super League. Already at the club was former Chelsea team mate Nikolas Anelka who was earning €12 Million a year. Despite only being at the club for one season both players returned to Europe, the only foreign player who remained for the 2013 season was Giovanni Moreno. Over in the capital city of Beijing was former Tottenham and Mali International Freddy Kanoute was featuring for Beijing Guoan. Although despite the wealth of experience in the League it was Romanian- born Danalache who would finish 2012 top scorer with 23 goals for Jiangsu Sanity.
2014 after winning the Chinese Super League and the Asian Champions League, Guangzhou Evergrande added two Italian Internationals. Alessandro Diamanti arrived from Bolonga along with Alberto Gilardino from Genoa. But the biggest deal in the league fell for former CSKA Moscow star and Brazil forward Vagner Love. The man with his signature blue dreadlocks signed €12 Million deal for Shandong Luneng. In the 2014 season, 24 Brazilian player were to compete in the Super League. But in the following season Champions Guangzhou would use all of their foreign player allocation for Brazilians. Robinho, who could boast a vast amount of experience from teams such as Real Madrid and A.C Milan, penned a six month deal. Paulinho from Tottenham Hotspur would also feature for the champions that season. The final Brazilian to sign was Ricardo Goulart, a young prospect from Cruziero who played as an attacking midfielder. Keeping the theme all things yellow, green and blue World Cup winner Luiz Philipe Scolari would take charge of the team in red and add a little more Samba to the squad. Title rivals Shanghai Shenhua would steal free agent and much loved Aussie Tim Cahill as his 3 season stint came to an end under mutual agreement in 2015. They would also manage to get the signature of Senegalese striker Demba Ba from Turkish club Besiktas. Interestingly in the 2015 campaign 3 Icelandic player would join the League. Two of them would feature for Jiangsu Sanity and one of them would feature for Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, and that player was Eidur Gudjohnsen who was well known across Europe featuring for massive clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona.
But the media all across the world would soon be talking about the Chinese Super league in 2016 as it attracted some of the world’s brightest stars and best footballers in the business. Just as it seemed Alex Teixera from Shakhtar Donetsk was about to board a plane to the UK and sign for Liverpool he managed to find himself flying to China to complete a deal for €50 Million for club Jiangsu Suning. He will join fellow Brazilian team mate Ramires as the Chelsea playmaker left London the same year. Across Europe Porto and Colombia’s best player Jackson Martinez was soon to shock the media as he himself would head to China to do business with Champions Guangzhou Evergrande F.C, the business done would involve a €45 Million deal. The Turkish League was again raided as it managed to snatch of its brightest prospects and one of the leagues biggest players, Burak Yilmaz was to leave Galatasaray at the epitome of his career, at both club and international level, and join Beijing Guoan. He would become the first Turkish player in the Chinese League. One of the biggest shocks would be the fact that newly promoted Hebei Fortune managed to sign two stars of European football in Gervinho of AS Roma and Ezequiel Lavezzi of Paris Saint Germain. Just as it seemed all the spending and madness was over Obefemi Martins joined Shanghai Shenhua from Seattle Sounders for a multi-million dollar fee. Needless to say the Chinese Super League of 2016 will be exciting, but so will the opening of the transfer with the amount of cash is stashed in the Asian nation. Who do you think you will see there soon ?