The Premier League has nothing to fear from the financial power of Chinese Super League clubs, according to Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Brazil international Oscar has become the latest major player to be lured to the CSL, with Chelsea confirming on Friday that he will join Shanghai SIPG for a reported fee of €60million.
Players including Jackson Martinez, Ramires, Gervinho and former Spurs man Paulinho have all moved to China’s top flight in the last 18 months, while Carlos Tevez is expected to join Shanghai Shenhua on a contract reportedly worth €720,000 a week that would make him the world’s best-paid player.
Although Pochettino accepts that the staggering wages on offer in China are an undoubted attraction, he does not believe that England’s top flight will lose its appeal for the game’s most ambitious players.
“I don’t believe it’s a danger for us,” he said ahead of Spurs’ clash with Southampton next week. “I accept all decisions, but it’s sometimes difficult to understand this type of decision.
“Football for me is not only money, it is to be competitive and for me the Premier League is the most important league in the world.
“It’s not only money, for me, it’s a passion. I need to feel the competition. When you’re in the Premier League you’re competing with the best and that means a lot more than money.
“My players like to play football and like to compete with the best in the world and the Premier League is the place to be competitive.
“It would be strange for me if one of my players decided to move in that direction but everyone has different circumstances, and so I respect all opinions.”
Pochettino confirmed that Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Janssen should be available for the match against his former club, although Erik Lamela is still sidelined with a hip injury.
The former Argentina defender is relishing the prospect of another return to St Mary’s Stadium as Spurs look to keep pace in the hunt for the top four.
“It’s always special to go back to Southampton,” Pochettino said. “It was a very special place for me and my family and a great place to start my career in England in the Premier League.
“I think Claude Puel has done a fantastic job. I think he’s a great coach. I think they are playing very well.”
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