Paddy’s handy guide to buying Premier League players for Chinese clubs

Millions - or even billions - to burn? Here are the men to buy...


Yet another transfer window has been accompanied by the now usual rumours that link Premier League players with the Chinese Super League.

From Marko Arnautovic to Marouane Fellaini, it seems Chinese clubs don’t know the type of player they want, so we came up with a handy rulebook for them.

Under no circumstances look at the player’s recent form

If the transfers of Jose Fonte and Odion Ighalo have taught us anything, it’s that a player’s form is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to transfers. West Ham’s Fonte had had a miserable year since moving to London from Southampton and didn’t look anywhere near the £8 million the Hammers paid for him.

The Portuguese centre-back seemed lost at his new club, or perhaps just wasn’t very good without Virgil Van Dijk at his side. Whatever you put his bad form down to, Fonte fetched £5 million when Dalian Yifang swooped for him last January and he’s never looked back, terminating his contract just six months later.

Odion Ighalo was the subject of a massive bid from Hebei China Fortune in 2016 following a devastating first season in the Premier League, but subsequently endured a dip in 2016/17, scoring just one goal in 18 league games.

That didn’t stop Changchun Yatai coming in for the Nigerian in January and making Ighalo the most expensive player Watford had ever sold.

Everyone knows that it is the size of the transfer fee and not the form of the player that makes the transfer a success. The only thing that’s relevant is who has the biggest bank account and small matters like whether the player is actually playing well shouldn’t come into the decision-making process at all.

Best suited player: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

If they’re over 30, double the player’s salary

It is commonly known that players approaching the end of their careers make far better investments than young prospects.

Why reward an up and coming star with a lucrative contract, for instance, when you can offer a 32-year old Carlos Tevez $41 million a year and make him the highest paid player in football? What better way to market your league than to give over-the-hill Ezequiel Lavezzi a deal worth £10 million a year and have him racially insult an entire nation in the process?

Older players, after all, have less time than younger ones to make money and so should be rewarded with massive contracts, despite being in a state of glaringly obvious decline.

It is no wonder Arnautovic, 29, has turned down a January move to China. The Austrian turns 30 in April when he will become prime real estate in the Chinese transfer market.

Best suited player: Olivier Giroud

Where possible, sign Brazilian players for extortionate amounts

If anything makes football fans weak at the knees, it’s paying over the odds for some washed up Brazilian star.

Oscar, Hulk and most notably Tottenham flop Paulinho have all made big money moves to China in recent years and were fully worth the money. Paulinho, in particular, thoroughly deserved his £100,000 a-week contract with Guangzhou Evergrande following two seasons of sub-par performances with Tottenham.

Similarly, an increasingly surplus-to-requirements Oscar fully merited the reported £60 million that Shanghai SIPG paid for him in 2017. The Brazilian, who made 11 appearances for Chelsea in 2016/17, was sold for twice the price that N’Golo Kante was bought for and who could possibly deny that he was not at least twice the player as him too.

And who could forget Hulk, the once promising Porto winger who really showed that he was all about furthering his career when he turned down the chance to join a number of top European clubs to sign for Zenit in 2012.

He again showed his commitment to being remembered as a truly great footballer and not someone motivated by money when he made the move East to giants Shanghai SIPG on a modest salary of £300,000 a week.

Such a paltry income is worth it when you consider all the prestigious trophies that Hulk can win with the Chinese club.

Best suited player: Fred

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