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Chinese Super League transfer window review

| 27.02.2016

Robbie Purves | February 26, 2016

The 2016 winter transfer window will be remembered as the time the Chinese Super League emerged a financial superpower of world football.

It saw established football talent make the switch from Europe to China as clubs loosen their purse strings.

More could follow as Coral have John Terry’s next club to be Chinese at 6/1.

Xi Jinping, president of China, has encouraged clubs to spend money in an attempt to transform the Chinese Super League (CSL) into one of the best in the world. Jinping is a huge football fan and supports Manchester United and is fed up of the country’s failure to develop as a footballing powerhouse despite possessing 20 per cent of the world’s population.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

A lot of the money in Chinese football comes from extremely wealthy businessman rather than TV deals, who invest in the sport in part to improve their political relations.

For the 2015 season, clubs collected just $9million from broadcasters, but that amount will rise to $200m this year as part of a five-season deal worth $1.25b.

With the Super League’s window now closed, we take a look at some of the most noteworthy moves this year…

Ramires – Chelsea to Jiangsu Suning for £25m

The Brazilian’s transfer broke the CSL transfer record and saw him join up with Jiangsu Suning’s manager and former Chelsea hero Dan Petrescu.

Former English Premier League Chelsea player Ramires Santos do Nascimento of Brazil, center, shakes hands with Chinese soccer fans on his arrival at Nanjing Lukou International Airport in Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu province. Ramires has signed a four-years contract with China Super League Jiangsu Suning Football Club. (Color China Photo via AP) CHINA OUT
Known for his pace, tenacity and hard work ethic, he made 251 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 34 goals. Ramires lifted five major trophies including the Champions League, the Europa League and the Premier League.

His former club Chelsea, are 5/2 to finish in the top six this season as they look shake off the gloom of Jose Mourinho’s reign.

Jackson Martinez – Atletico Madrid to Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao for £31m

Martinez transferred to Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao with a fee of £31m, a record for an Asian team, breaking that of the Ramires move.

Guangzhou have won five consecutive league titles and are the most successful CSL team in the league after Dhalian Shide dissolved in 2012 with eight titles.

Atletico de Madrid Forward, Jackson Martinez - JACKSON MARTINEZ, number 11 . Round 9 of the BBVA league, soccer match between Atletico de Madrid - Valencia CF at the Vicente Calderon estadium, Madrid - Spain (ESP) by October 25, 2015. PHOTO: Gregorio Lopez.

Luiz Felipe Scolari manages the side who’s bold motto is ‘be the best forever’ and has former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho at his disposal.

Guangzhou is the largest city in Southern China and is nicknamed ‘The City of Flowers’ and the Evergrande faithful will hope this new age of frivolous spending can blossom into beautiful.

Alex Teixeira – Shakhtar Donetsk to Jiangsu Suning for £38m

Premier League club Liverpool tried to sign to Brazilian earlier in January and Teixeira himself expressed a strong desire to move to Merseyside. However, Shakhtar refused to sell him and instead Texeira ended up in China.

The forward joined Chinese club Jiangsu Suning on a four-year contract for a transfer fee of 38m. This was the third time in ten days that China’s transfer record had been broken, the first being for compatriot Ramires who also joined Jiangsu and then Jackson Martinez’s move to Evergrande for £31m.

Alex Teixeira, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Whatever his reasons for moving to China, be that the pursuit of financial gain or willingness to be part of a new exciting project, Teixeira may have sacrificed his chances of making the Brazilian national side for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers and Copa America tournament.

He has made seven appearances at under 20 level but will now be a doubt to register a senior cap during his Jiangsu career due to lack of worldwide exposure and quality of football.

Gervinho – Roma to Hebei China Fortune for £13.50m

The 28-year-old made the switch after spending two-and-a-half years at the Italian club. He scored scored 17 times in his 71 Serie A appearances for Roma, including six in 14 games this season.

Gervinho has twice been voted his country’s footballer of the year, moved to Roma from Arsenal in 2013.

Ivory Coast's soccer player Gervinho, celebrates with a medal after winning their African Cup of Nations final soccer match against Ghana in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

The Ivorian’s move to the Middle Eastern side Al-Jazira fell through last summer due to ‘obscene’ demands, according to the Emirati club. These included a helicopter and a private beach.

Fredy Guarin – Inter Milan to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua F.C. for £8.7m fee plus bonuses

The Colombia international signed a contract with Gregorio Manzano’s side on January 26th.

New player of Shanghai Shenhua FC, Colombian Fredy Guarin, poses for the photographer during the pre-season of the team in Marbella, southern Spain, 30 january 2016. EFE/Carlos Diaz

Guarin joins the mass exodus of South American players from Europe to China. He will team up with former Premier League players Demba Ba and Obafemi Martins in Shanghai.

Shanghai previously signed Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka who left China’s richest city in 2013.

Ezequiel Lavezzi – Paris Saint German to Hebei China Fortune for £4.1m

Linked to a move to the Premier League, but then again who isn’t, Lavezzi signed with Hebei China Fortune on a two-year deal thought to be worth £10m a year.

PSG's Ezequiel Lavezzi is thrown in the air by teammates as he leaves his team to Chinese club Hebei China Fortune prior to their French League One soccer match between PSG and Reims at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Lavezzi joins ex-Arsenal striker Gervinho and Cameroon captain Stephane Mbia and will play their first match on March 4th.

Although now 30, Hebei have described the Argentina 48-capped forward as “the next Diego Maradona” on social media ahead of the first round of Super League fixtures.

Nikica Jelavic – West Ham United to Beijing Renhe for £4m

West Ham United co-chairman David Gold confirmed on February 16th that striker Jelavic had left the club for Chinese Second Division side Beijing Renhe.

West Ham's Nikica Jelavic warms up on the touchline.
Renhe, who finished 15th in the CSL last year were subsequently relegated, yet are following the trend set by other clubs in China by spending big money.

Jelavic finished his spell with West Ham with one goal in 12 domestic games.

The Hammers are a super 10/1 to win the FA Cup this season after Dimitri Payet’s sensational performance against Blackburn.

Burak Yilmaz – Galatasaray S.K. to Beijing Guoan for £6m

Yilmaz scored and impressive 65 in 105 games at Galatasaray and was subject of a bid from West Ham in January but was rebuffed in favour of a more lucrative deal for both the Istanbul side and personally.

Burak Yilmaz of Galatasaray during the Turkish Super Lig match between Galatasaray and Mersin Idmanyurdu on September 12, 2015 at the Turk Telekom stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Turkish international played for Turkey’s biggest clubs; Besiktas, Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor and Galatasaray.

His former club Fenerbahce

Tim Cahill – Free agent to Hangzhou Greentown F.C

On February 16th, Cahill announced on social media that he had terminated his contract with Shanghai Shenhua by mutual agreement, upon being told that he was not part of new coach Gregorio Manzano’s plans for the upcoming season.

Tim Cahill of the Socceroos (right) fights for the ball with Ildar Amirov of Kyrgyzstan during the Asian Football Confederation's second round qualifying match for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the GIO Stadium in Canberra, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The 36-year-old was one of Shanghai’s best players last season, scoring 11 times in 28 matches, helping the club make it all the way through to the Chinese FA Cup final.

Cahill will link up with fellow Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic, who joined the club from Western Sydney Wanderers in 2015.

Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer was unable to join a Hyundai A-League club as his contract with Shanghai was terminated after the Australian transfer window closed on February 2nd.

Jo – Al Shabab to Jiangsu Suning for £1.50m

Jo is coming off a short stint with UAE Arabian Gulf League team Al Shabab in Dubai, who signed him in July of last year. He recorded 13 goals in only eight games played and rejected offers to return to Brazil.

Brazil's Jo

The ex-Man City striker and Everton loanee failed to light the Premier League up during his time in England but was capped 20 times for Brazil and has won major silverware at Corinthians, CSKA Moscow, Internacional and Atletico Mineiro.

Obafemi Martins – Seattle Sounders to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua for £1.5

It took more than a week since initial reports emerged, but on February 25th the Sounders made it official.

Seattle Sounders' Obafemi Martins reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Galaxy during an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The deal sees Martins’ salary double to £4.8m and team up with Fredy Guarin and Demba Ba on the banks of the Yangtze.

Spending by CSL teams passed the £240m barrier this winter – surpassing the £172.65m that Premier League sides spent during the January transfer window.


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Robbie Purves