Former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson feels the cash on offer in China is too good to turn down for some of the game’s big names.
High-profile players such as Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Alex Teixeira – who had been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool – have all made the move to China and Eriksson, who coaches Shanghai SIPG, believes there is more to come as the money is just too good to ignore.
And while the money is making a big impact on the European transfer market, it is having a bigger one on the shape of Asian football – particularly in the Asian Champions League.
“You can’t take away the fact that money is the primary factor,” Eriksson said.
“The Champions League used to be dominated by teams from Japan, South Korea and Australia, but Guangzhou Evergrande [coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari] have won it in two of the past three seasons.”
“Football is on the TV all the time here, not just the Premier League or the Champions League, but all the European leagues.
“The Chinese Super League is an emerging league, which is why they are attracting such big names. There will be more to follow.
“The football is improving all the time and they are very ambitious with the national team.”
Eriksson added that clubs in cities like Shanghai have relatively little trouble attracting big names, but admitted the culture shock was sometimes enough to put players off making the plunge.
“The biggest problem is the language because it is so difficult for Europeans to learn,” he said.
“In the big cities, such as Shanghai, it is easier because so many people speak English.
“Shanghai is a beautiful city, with theatres, shopping malls and restaurants that can rival anything in London.”
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