Wenger Warning Over Chinese Spending Surge


Arsenal manager has today warned that the Premier League must be wary of the new financial behemoth in world club football – the Chinese Super League. Essentially backed by the Chinese communist government, new incentives have seen the CSL look to dramatically spend millions in the January transfer window.

The winter window, which remains open until 26 February in China, has been marked by a series of sensational deals involving clubs from the country’s Super League. The Super League had previously made big statements on the market, such as the £9.9m deal that took Paulinho from Tottenham Hotspur to Guangzhou last June but it has seriously upped their game in recent weeks.

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Liverpool’s biggest January target failed to seal a move to Anfield before Monday’s English transfer deadline and less than 72 hours later he was off to Jiangsu Suning for an Asian record £38million fee. Other big money arrivals in China include Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Ramires.

Xi Jinping, the president of China, has ‘encouraged’ clubs to spend more money in an attempt to transform the Chinese Super League into one of the best in the world. Jinping, who assumed office in 2013, is a huge football fan and is fed up of the country’s failure to develop as a footballing nation, despite its population of nearly 1.4 billion.

The Guardian claim a lot of the money in Chinese football comes from extremely wealthy businessman, who invest in the sport in part to improve their political relations. Jinping completed a state visit to the UK in October last year and stopped off at Manchester City’s training ground during his stay – despite supporting Manchester United.

“Yes, of course, the Premier League should be worried,” said Wenger. “Because China looks to have the financial power to move a whole league of Europe to China.

“We are long enough in this job to know that it’s just a consequence of economic power and they have that. Will they sustain their desire to do it? Let’s remember, a few years ago, Japan started to do it and slowed down after. I don’t know how deep the desire in China is, but if there’s a very strong political desire, we should worry.”

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Wenger was asked whether the Chinese clubs could inflate the market. “Yes, they could,” he replied. “But I believe that anyway the inflation is on our doors with the next TV deal in the summer. That will move up again the transfer prices. I am sure that soon the £100m target will be easy to reach.”

Chinese Super League teams have spent £194.2million in total – almost £20million more than the collective outlay of Premier League clubs. Pertinently, the winter window in China doesn’t close until February 26, leaving plenty of time for more big money moves to take place.