Oscar Joins the China Exodus
China is becoming increasingly adept at snapping up the talent from European clubs. It’s offer of untold riches has been hard to resist, but what is the end game. Will we see Chinese clubs become the biggest in the world or are we seeing another retirement home that never quite makes the grade.
Oscar made a sensational switch for $60m to Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea. He was joined by Carlos Tevez in another groundbreaking transfer window for the Chinese Super League. One quick look over the squads of the Chinese teams and you will see a sprinkling of familiar names. Each club seems to have enough wealth behind it to blow European clubs out of the water. The majority of these players are south american, Brazil in particular. Oscar joins Hulk at SIPG for instance. Ramires and Paulinho are just a few more gracing the fields in the far east. There are plenty of his fellow country men to enjoy the culture, steamed buns and Erhu music with then!
Not 5 years ago China were doing this but on a lesser level. Most players who went like Anelka or Drogba were old, passed their sell by date, and out for a quick buck before the legs packed in. But this time it is different. Oscar is but 25 and has chosen to make the huge decision. So what is the pulling power?
There is no doubt that money play a monstrous part. The report is that Oscar will quadruple his wages in China and considering he was playing for Chelsea, one of Europe’s biggest spenders, it is eye watering. Carlos Tevez who also joined a Chinese club (Shanghai Shenhua) could be being paid over $600,000 a week if reports are to be believed. Many people will be pointing the Asamoah Gyan finger and accusing the players of wasting their talents and opportunities for a quick buck.
There is a good counterargument however for such accusations. Of course most of these players, especially the south american ones have been brought up in extreme poverty and have been offered a twisted concept of the value of it because of it. Probably worried about the worries of what has gone before being able to avoid it on ever greater sums is an easy observation to make. Let us not forget though that as well as being financially smart Oscar will be one of the most high profile players in a continent of 4 billion people. While the admiration of a Bernabeau or Old Trafford is certainly enticing it simply cannot compete with the sort of numbers Asia can throw out.
The motivation of the Chinese clubs themselves is a little more complex. owning a Chinese Super League will give you access in an incredibly hostile political environment but also something else. It is no secret that President Xi Jingping has made becoming a super power in world football. That means anyone in helping him achieve that will likely gain considerable favour. In terms of the professional league, they will benefit from increased interest in the league as well as increased competition. This will hopefully make their homegrown players more used to high paced game and prepare them for the dream of world domination. They look to the US and the relative success of the MLS as a watermark that they will hope to pass.