Jackson Martinez's €42m transfer from Atlético Madrid to Guangzhou Evergrande is equal parts impressive and annoying.
Impressive, in that agent Jorge Mendes once again pulled a rabbit out of his hat, getting himself, his client, and Atlético an absolutely ridiculous payday for a misfiring flop. Atléti paid €35m for Jackson, and wages and exchange rates aside, are basically getting their investment back eight months later. For a man who's scored as many goals (2) in La Liga this season as Fernando Torres, that's mighty impressive.
Equally impressive are the ridiculous amounts of moneys Chinese Super League teams are suddenly paying for players well past their primes. The €42m is a new record transfer for Asian football, breaking the €28m record established just a few days prior when Chelsea sold Ramires to Jiangsu Suning. Earlier in the window, Gervinho arrived for €18m, Fredy Guarin for €13m as opening salvos in the ever-escalating arms race of tycoon owners. John Terry could look for a final payday there as well (upwards of £20m for a year's worth of work, rumors say), for example.
The annoying part is that Atlético were supposedly ready to turn some of this money around and use it to pay a certain Radamel Falcao, taking him back to where he enjoyed his best football earlier this decade. But because the deal did not go through before the Spanish (and English) transfer windows closed on Monday, Falcao remains with Chelsea. And while there is a chance that Falcao could skip town to China as well — their transfer window remains open until February 26 — for now, it's annoying that we potentially missed the window of opportunity by less than 24 hours. Chinese teams are paying over the odds for big name transfers, but even they might baulk at taking a flier on Falcao at this point unfortunately.
Looking a bit longer-term, the influx of money could be tremendously helpful for Atlético in the summer, which is likely to be their last transfer window in which they can register new players until January 2018. They could easily turn the money around to pay their already established superstars (and rumored Chelsea transfer targets) like Koke or Griezmann and ensure that they don't leave the club. Or they could use it to bid for players like Diego Costa, and ensure that manager (and rumored Chelsea target) Diego Simeone has absolutely no reason to look elsewhere for employment. All of which makes the timing of the Jackson Martinez transfer even more annoying.