The emergence of the Chinese Super League is one which has shaken the core of the football world. With the money clubs now have at their disposal, it appears now that no player is out of reach for this ambitious league.
Until this January window, we had just seen bit-part players depart England to try their trade abroad, but now the quality of player being linked is getting greater.
This week we have seen Chelsea super-star Diego Costa linked to Tianjin Quanjian. His move has been touted at a mouth-watering £480,000 pounds a week, enough to turn any players head.
Earlier in the month we saw his Chelsea counterpart Oscar complete a £51 million-pound move to Shanghai SIPG. This was the first real move we have seen from a global name, and this was a move that brought shockwaves to the Premier League.
It was the first real move we saw from a player who was just about to hit the prime of his career. It showed that swapping the global powerhouse of the Premier League, for the mega-bucks of a new and developing division, is now a viable option for some players.
If a player is reaching the end of the career, John Terry for example, then I fully support and understand a player moving for a final pay-cheque. However, I don’t understand why a player, like Oscar, would be prepared to take such a gamble.
Whilst most will point to the inflated wage, the thought of giving away the chance to play in the Champions League and the Premier League, is not one I can understand.
When he looks back on his career, what will he have to show for it? Granted the increase in money is attractive, but he was hardly paid peanuts in South-West London.
It comes down to a sense of character. Someone who has ambition and is a born winner, would not make that move. Not when entering the prime of their career.
For me, anyone who makes that move across to the Far East, that isn’t in the swansong of their career, is of no loss to the most competitive league in the world.
The Premier League is trailing behind La Liga, with Spanish sides coming out on top throughout Europe. Over the last few years, we have seen the likes of Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez make the move across the continent. Genuine world class players.
If Premier League clubs are to compete in Europe again, they need players of this ilk. Players who wouldn’t entertain a move to China. Players that are hungry for domestic success.