Gareth Bale’s one million euro a week move from Real Madrid has collapsed but Chinese football has re-emerged as a force in the global market despite measures to rein spending.
Marko Arnautovic landed in the Chinese Super League (CSL) during China’s summer transfer window, which closed on Wednesday.
There were other domestic transfer too, while Champions League-winning coach Rafael Benitez also arrived, taking over at Dalian Yifang. Nearly 100 million Euros was spent in transfer fees by CSL clubs, compared to the record 128 million Euros splurged in summer of 2016, said the respected Oriental Sports Daily.
The Austrian Forward Arnautovic was the biggest mover, from West Ham United for CSL Champions Shanghai SIPG for 25 million Euros.
But it was Bale’s proposed transfer to Jiangsu Suning which really made headlines and renewed fears about Chinese clubs distorting the transfer market with wages and the rest cannot match.
Two years ago, after series of record deals, the Chinese Football Association-at the beheast of the Government slapped a 100% tax on the transfer of incoming foreign players. The prohibitive move worked: in the summer of 2017 the highest-profile arrival was Anthony Modeste on loan from Cologne.
The CFA brought in more cooling measures at the start of this year, including a cap on the wages of Chinese players and a limit of bonuses. Clubs were also told that their annual expenditure could not exceed 1.2 billion yuan ($174 million) in 2019, which will decline to 900 million in 2021, but the light of the latest transfer dealings, those measures were now “a pile of waste paper”, said a commentary in the Oriental Sports Daily.