Oscar and Zhang Chengdong respectively broke the CSL transfer records for foreign and domestic players after the Chinese Super League, winter transfer window closed on February 28th, making the eye-catching “arms race” among CSL teams finally coming to an end.
Despite the CFA publishing the new regulation to curb irrational spending, Chinese clubs still spent a record-high 390 million euros in this transfer window, according to the estimation by Transfermarkt, which meant the CSL surpassed the English Premier League this winter to become the world’s highest-spending football league for two consecutive years.
In the last 12 months, the transfer record for Chinese clubs has been broken five times. The latest record was set by Brazilian midfielder Oscar’s 60 million euros heavyweight transfer from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG. It not only broke the Asian record but also created the world record for the winter window. In the recent Asian Champions League matches, he has enjoyed a trident with his compatriots Hulk and Elkeson. It was, therefore, not surprising when SIPG’s city rivals Shanghai Shenhua introduced world-class striker Carlos Tevez to the squad.
Meanwhile, newly-promoted Tianjin Quanjian, coached by former Ballon d’Or winner Fabio Cannavaro, spent 20 million euros on midfielder Witsel and 18 million euros on forwarding Pato. The ambitious young club also splurged 12.4 million euros on former Chinese international Wang Yongpo from Shandong Luneng.
Hebei-based China Fortune brought the most domestic footballers into the club with 10, including a 20.4 million transfer to bring Zhang Chengdong back to his hometown. In addition, 17.8 million euros on Zhao Yuhao, 10.9 million euros on Zhao Mingjian and 10.7 million euros for Ren Hang were other important three transfers.
In addition to these top teams and upstart clubs, another surprise comes from Watford striker Odion Ighalo’s 23.3 million euros move to Changchun Yatai, which made him the second biggest transfer in the winter window.
In contrast, defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande kept a low-profile this winter, only spending 9.65 million euros for Zhang Chenglin from Beijing Renhen and South Korean international defender Kim Hyungll. They also announced plans to field a local-player-only squad by 2020, after years of success fueled by big-money foreign signings.