Transfer dealings in China have garnered interest from football fans all over the country. Two giants of the footballing world now reside in Shanghai. With the likes of captain Hulk and Oscar, it seems hardly surprising that Shanghai SIPG FC lie on top of the table. The Red Eagles were founded in 2005 and are now title contenders ever since it began to lure in talent from abroad. The combined attacking force costs the team a whopping £54 million for Oscar and £50 million for Hulk.
The Super League
These signings served to boost the quality of the football in the Chinese Super League. The league will benefit from the competition and requisite skill needed to challenge for the title. Moreover, the youth facilities are receiving financial aid which will, in turn, convert the nation into a country that will one day compete for the World Cup. As is usually the case with the introduction of foreign talent, the footballing knowledge will treacle down to the junior teams and set an example of what needs to be done to be the best. China could become a football superpower over the next 15 years.
Surprisingly China’s very own Lei Wu is topping the score sheets in the Super League. With 21 goals in 21 appearances, he is probably the best bang for the Shanghai buck stats-wise in the league – he came on a free transfer. This Chinese national is only 26 years old and holds the record as the club’s top goal scorer and has the most appearances in the Shanghai shirt. Even more remarkably he is the youngest ever to have played the game in the Super League and was 14 years and 287 days old on his debut. Wu Lei is China’s wunderkind and scouts from abroad will have their eyes glued to him for the rest of the season.
Both Guangzhou Evergrande and BJ Sinobo Guoan are equal in points in second and third place. Guangzhou has their key player Paulinho for good as the midfielder passed on the opportunity to play for Barcelona. Instead, Paulinho gave testimony to the emerging Super League. ‘After training in Evergrande and Barcelona, and following the Brazilian national team in the World Cup, I got a good experience. I chose to return to the Super League this time, hoping to bring more championships to Guangzhou and Guangzhou fans. I also hope to give The Super League more excitement.’
BJ Sinobo Guoan
Sinobo has Bakambu, Viera and Renato Augusto, all worthy of a Saturday night sports binge watch. The Chinese teams demonstrated their bargaining power when Viera admitted that his future was financially secured. Of course, football leagues that were never before on the radar need to do this to encourage competition, increase viewership and give the fans what they desire most – titles!
Importantly, Chinese football did not generate interest out of the blue but it was rather a meticulously planned project. President Xi Jinping loves football and back in 2015, he expressed his desire to build 20,000 football training centres and 70,000 pitches. This goal would secure the necessary infrastructure required for the sport to flourish and build on domestic talent. The most populous nation in the world is well on its way to becoming world champions in the future.