China set to shatter transfer records

[PHOTO: COURTESY]

“Biggest”, “hugest”, “most ever”. Analysts are piling up superlatives as China prepares to splash out astronomical sums for footballing talent during the winter transfer window in deals that analysts say involve more money than sense.

Last year, Chinese teams broke the Asian transfer record four times in an acquisition spree that outstripped even the mega-rich English Premier League.

And even before this year’s starting whistle on Sunday, Chinese sides have already begun offering record-breaking sums to lure top talent to the pitches of the world’s second-largest economy.

On Thursday, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua said they had signed Argentine striker Carlos Tevez to a two-year contract, with sources saying he would earn around 38 million euros ($40 million) a season, making him the world’s best-salaried footballer.

The announcement came quick on the heels of Shanghai SIPG’s swoop on Chelsea’s Oscar for a reported $73 million fee.

“Money in every area of the game is going through the roof,” said David Hornby, of the Shanghai-based Mailman Group.

“Transfer fees, rights fees, China tours and sponsorship are all increasing fast so there’s absolutely no reason to think this will slow down this year.”

Mark Dreyer of China Sports Insider said that last year “the world was taken by surprise”, but now “the element of surprise is gone. Everyone is expecting the same thing”.
While China is bad at soccer it is very good at buying talent.

“There is an appetite by the billionaire owners to outdo each other and continue to land more big name players,” said Marcus Luer, founder and chief executive of marketing agency Total Sports Asia.

This week’s headline signings typify the trend.

Whereas last year Chinese teams were mostly signing “unknown” Brazilians, this year “there’ve been rumours flying around for pretty much every big name player,” Dreyer said.

Even world superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s name has been put in the mix, his agent told Sky Italia, saying that the four-time Ballon d’Or winner had been offered 100 million euros a year to hit the Chinese pitch.

“But money is not everything,” he said. “They can buy a lot of players, but then again, it is impossible to go for Ronaldo.”

The world-beating deals are part of a Chinese rush into football that seems to be driven more by political calculations than fiscal ones.

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Mesut Ozil: I'm happy at Arsenal

Mesut Ozil has insisted he feels "very happy" at Arsenal in the face of mounting speculation about his future.

Tottenham star Dele Alli banned for three European matches after horror tackle

Dele Alli has been handed a three match European ban for his horror tackle on Gent’s Brecht Dejaegere.

Cocaine branded Lionel Messi seized by South American authorities

South American authorities have confirmed that they have seized cocaine branded Lionel Messi.

LIVERPOOL: Origi keen to impress ahead of Merseyside clash

Liverpool striker Divock Origi is taking the hectic life of an international footballer in his stride as he looks to impress manager Juergen Klopp ahead of next week’s Merseyside derby.

CRAVING FOR REMATCH: Kenyans out to revenge losses to Ugandans on Sunday

There will be no love lost when star athletes lock horns at the 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

CHAIRMAN’S WORD: Omwela answers critics, Sasha blames constitution and caucuses for defeat

“I will now be visible, but I will not drink in bars with clubs,” those were the words of Richard Omwela after being re-elected as the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman.

More Stories
Mesut Ozil: I'm happy at Arsenal

Mesut Ozil has insisted he feels "very happy" at Arsenal in the face of mounting speculation about his future.

Tottenham star Dele Alli banned for three European matches after horror tackle

Dele Alli has been handed a three match European ban for his horror tackle on Gent’s Brecht Dejaegere.

LIVERPOOL: Origi keen to impress ahead of Merseyside clash

Liverpool striker Divock Origi is taking the hectic life of an international footballer in his stride as he looks to impress manager Juergen Klopp ahead of next week’s Merseyside derby.

ITALY TACKLE ALBANIA: Azzurri look to insatiable 'Rooster' Belotti

He’s known as the ‘Rooster’ with the insatiable appetite for goals, and Albania coach Gianni Di Biasi, for one, will be hoping Italy sensation Andrea Belotti goes hungry today.

Fairy-tale end for Podolski: Germany set record in win over England

Lukas Podolski admitted his Germany farewell could not have been scripted better after netting the superb winner in the 1-0 friendly win over England.

STILL UNBEATEN, BUT...Harambee Stars fail to impress

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi may have extended his unbeaten run to nine matches but will be disappointed at the manner Uganda snatched a late draw from what appeared a done and dusted fixture.

Arsenal target Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez

Leicester City are said to be planning a replacement for Riyad Mahrez who is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the season.

Kenya 1-1 Uganda: Late goal denies Harambee stars win

Uganda scored a late goal to secure a 1-1 draw against Harambee Stars today at the Kenyatta stadium in Machakos.

Aguero and Rojo return ahead of Thursday’s clash

Sergio Aguero has been reinstated to the Argentina attack and Marcos Rojo will stand in for the suspended Ramiro Funes Mori in their critical 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chile at El Monumental on Thursday.

Sanchez and Ozil contract talks are on hold, says Wenger

Contract negotiations with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are on hold until the end of the season, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Wednesday.