The world is starting to pay serious attention to the Chinese Super League following the arrival of some of the biggest football stars.
But not only is the Chinese Super League attracting the biggest stars, some of the best coaches in the world have suddenly found solace in China.
The likes of Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Hebei China Fortune, Luiz Felipe Scolari, manager of Guangzhou Evergrande, Gus Poyet, manager of Shanghai Shenhua, Andre Villa Boas, manager of Shanghai SIPG have all packed their bags to China after torrid times in Europe.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel became the latest star to move to China.
But not only is Mikel now one of the stars plying his trade in China, he also makes the list of former Chelsea players who have packed their bags and luggage to China.
Recall that Jiangsu Suning last year paid Chelsea £20m for Ramires, Oscar became Chelsea’s biggest ever sale last month when he completed a £60m move to Shanghai SIPG, while Shanghai SIPG yesterday completed the signing of former Chelsea and Real Madrid defender Ricardo Carvalho.
But why are all these former Chelsea players and other world stars moving to China? NAIJ.com has listed four reasons below.
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1. To play regularly in China
Every player’s dream is to play regular football and the case of these ex-Chelsea stars is not in anyway different.
Oscar gave up bench-warming at Chelsea to quadruple his wages, Mikel gave up bench-warming at Stamford Bridge to live like a king in China. Is that so bad?
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2. To make more money
Oscar now earns £350,000 a week after tax in China, Carlos Tevez has become football’s highest paid player as he reportedly earns around £615,000 per week on a two-year contract with Shanghai Shenhua while Ghanaian forward Asamoah Gyan now earns around £247,000 per week.
With money like that, the number of recognizable names setting foot on football fields in the China is only likely to grow.
3. To revive their careers
Moving to China can put players in the transfer window again. But with less playing time in Europe, it almost impossible to get a new contract.
There are plenty of players who have moved to a “retirement league” before returning to Europe and continue their careers successfully.
People assumed Jermain Defoe would finish his career in Major League Soccer when he moved to Toronto FC in 2014.
They thought the lower quality of football across the Atlantic would lead to Defoe losing his edge but his goals effectively kept Sunderland in the Premier League last season and he has kept banging in the goals this season.
4. To increase their fan base
China’s plan to become the world’s best footballing nation may have many flaws but the Chinese Super League is attracting a large number of fans to the game.
Chinese are passionate about football and that is why some of the best teams in Europe go to the Far East for their preseason games.
Those football stars who currently ply their trade in China have witnessed their fan base increase by the day.