Chinese clubs outspent their Premier League rivals by more than 100million dollars on international transfers during the countries’ two most recent windows.
Sides in the Chinese Super League splashed some serious cash during the close season on overseas imports, with the signing of Liverpool target Alex Teixeira by Jiangsu Suning for almost £39million the biggest individual deal.
Jiangsu also signed Brazil midfielder Ramires from Chelsea, and overall Chinese clubs spent 296m US dollars (£208m) on international transfers between January 1 and February 26, 2016 according to data released to Press Association Sport on Tuesday by FIFA’s transfer matching system (TMS).
English top-flight sides spent 181m US dollars between January 1 and February 1 – equating to £127million – according to TMS. The Chinese total was also only 58m US dollars (£41m) lower than the overall amount spent during the winter window by the ‘big five’ European leagues in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.
However, Chinese spending is still dwarfed when a like-for-like comparison is made between England and China’s close-season windows.
TMS data showed Premier League clubs spent almost one billion US dollars (around £650m) during the summer 2015 window, more than three times the amount spent by Chinese clubs during their close season.
But the Chinese spending is still significant, and has more than trebled from the previous close season total of 86m US dollars, even though only 22 more overseas incoming deals were recorded by TMS in 2016 compared to 2015.
Chinese president Xi Jinping is a big football fan and has tried to encourage the wealthy owners of the clubs to spend big in a bid to raise the Super League’s global profile.
Jiangsu are owned by the Suning retail group, while Asian Champions League holders Guangzhou are owned by the Evergrande real estate company.
Other big-name players to have moved to China include former Arsenal winger Gervinho and Colombian forward Jackson Martinez, who joined Guangzhou from Atletico Madrid for £32m.
Jiangsu were also reported to have failed with a £75m bid for Ramires’ compatriot and former Chelsea team-mate Oscar.