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There has been a lot of press regarding the MLS rising to prominence as a league, but in the eastern hemisphere the Chinese Super League has been making some big moves as well. The CSL was formed in 2004, a mere 12 years ago. The league has 16 teams now after having 12 in its inaugural campaign. Like many other leagues of the world, the CSL instituted an international players policy, ensuring that domestic players would have a chance to thrive in the newly created league. After a few variations, the system now allows for 4 international players in the squad, along with an additional “domestic” player from an AFC nation. With these expansions, the clubs have been going after some big names in world football.

The latest transfer windows have seen some incredible spending by the Chinese clubs. Some of the transfer fees were ridiculous, such as Alex Teixeira making the move to Jiangsu Suning for 50 million euros. To put that in perspective, that is almost 20 million more than the 32 million rumored fee that Liverpool were offering for the player. Brazilian attacker Ramires fetched 25 million pounds for Chelsea, a fee that no clubs in Europe were close to offering. The Chinese have made it abundantly clear that they are willing to pay whatever it takes to get the stars to their country.

If you follow the financial sector in general, you might have some questions about this spending. China is seemingly headed for a recession, or at least a tremendous slowing of growth. The largest country in the world in terms of population has seen unprecedented growth over the past couple decades, and is now starting to slow. Any way you look at it, this is a concerning issue as the league continues to dole out huge transfer fees and salaries. The players don’t seem to mind though, as they flock to the Asian country.

Tim Cahill in Chinese Super League

Australian striker Tim Cahill has played in the CSL for just one year, but has been a very vocal presence about the league and its quality. He has voiced concerns about the domestic players getting a chance to attack, as most of the foreign players brought in are attackers, stealing potential goals from the domestic players that will truly help the league grow instead of being there for the wages. He also has voiced concerns about player’s ability to adapt to some of the living conditions. Some of the clubs are in rural areas, where amenities are not as abundant. For players who are used to pampering, that might be a rude awakening.

For now though, the players are beginning to look to China as a landing spot for their services. Who knows if the spending will continue to increase, but players seem confident in the CSL and its future prospects. What we do know is that there will be a large tug-o-war over players in the near future. 


About the author: Dominic Habjan


I am a contributor to SoccerPro’s blogs, and truly enjoy writing about the World’s Game. I support Sporting KC, US National Team, and Slovenian National Team. I follow the Premier League but don’t necessarily have a favorite club. I am an avid sports fan, but prefer college to professional leagues in every sport with exception to soccer. I love the Mizzou Tigers, KC Royals, and KC Chiefs. Outside sports I enjoy movies, music, and musical theatre.


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