As Guus Hiddink reflected in his pre-match press conference, Chinese Super League teams and owners are trying their level best to upset the balance of power in Europe, as much as possible as quickly as possible, with massive bids for just about anybody with two legs and even a modicum of name-brand recognition. €75m for Oscar. €90m for HULK. M-m-m-m-£300k per-week for Odion Ighalo-m-m-m-m-madness.
"China is showing it is very serious about international recognition from the football world and before I came here, I had some contacts over there and I know they are very keen not just to buy star players with big money, because that is relatively easy. It is equally important for China for the development of their football to bring in very high-qualified people who know how to educate and how to start academies."
"I know also there were players who said no, I am not going to China even though they were offered a huge amount of money. It depends on whether you are in a first, mid part or late part of your career. When you travel round the world, wherever you are the Premier League is so attractive. In the biggest cities or the smallest villages, wherever there is satellite TV they show the Premier League, and that is attractive to players."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
Hiddink, as he himself points out, does have experience in similar situations, being part of an emerging and well-moneyed Anzhi side a few years ago. And while the funds there did dry up eventually (which is part of the reason we have Willian), Hiddink's proud of the infrastruce and other such facilities that were put into place in addition to buying all the big name players.
Some of the latest rumors do fall in line with that thinking. None other than Jose Mourinho is sought in some sort of advisory role, apparently. Jose Mourinho, Chairman of Soccer. With Jorge Mendes seemingly involved in every transfer, it wouldn't be that surprising at the end of the day. It's not like Jose's got anything to do until the summer, right?
Meanwhile, with the Chinese transfer window open for almost three more weeks, there are plenty of potential transfers out there still. Former Chelsea boy Gael Kakuta is one of the latest to make the jump, just half a season after joining Sevilla on a permanent transfer from the Chelsea loan wilderness. £5m for the former mini-Zidane is just pocket change. Supposed Chelsea target Ezequiel Lavezzi may not be far behind either, at a cool €10-15m annual wages. And rumors about Loic Remy are persisting as well, with Hebei Fortune apparently looking to add him to their French-speaking contingent of Gervinho, Kakuta, and Stephane Mbia. Does Falcao know French? Anybody for a nice juicy Falcao, lads?
So who's China buying today? Who aren't they buying?!