This January’s transfer window was something of an oddity. Instead of the usual headlines involving the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain, the biggest story came out of China. The Chinese Super League, CSL, spent $278 million during the winter transfer window, outspending the $250 million dropped by the Premier League. So, we decided to take a look at the top paid footballers in China today.
For a bit of perspective, the total amount of money spent by clubs in the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 totaled $193 million in January 2016.
Spearheaded by Chinese president Xi Jinping’s desire to transform the CSL into one of the best in the world, wealthy businessmen who are looking to improve their political relations and increases in television, attendance and marketing revenues, the CSL is challenging MLS as the most promising developing league in the world.
The 2016 edition of the Chinese Super League will be its 13th. It’s the most anticipated to-date due to the influx of talent that’s been purchased from leading European clubs. Contrary to Major League Soccer’s tendency to lure aging superstars looking for their final career challenge, the CSL has been able to attract top-quality players who are in the prime of their respective careers.
The carrot used to get these players to come? Outlandish contracts, typically two to three times their previous pay rate, that make them some of the highest paid athletes in the world. Here are the biggest Chinese Super League transfers and the salaries that the players will earn.
The Top Paid Footballers In China (January 2016)
Club: Hebei China Fortune
30-years-old | Argentina
Transfer fee: $6.1 million to PSG (contract was expiring in the summer)
Salary: $16.8 million per year
28-years-old | Ivory Coast
Transfer fee: $20 million to Roma
Salary: $9.7 million per year (triple his Roma salary)
Club: Guangzhou Evergrande
29-years-old | Colombia
Transfer fee: $45.8 million to Atletico Madrid
Salary: $14 million per year
27-years-old | Brazil
Transfer fee: $15.7 million to Tottenham
Salary: $6.3 million per year
Club: Jiangsu Suning FC
28-years-old | Brazil
Transfer fee: $36.7 million to Chelsea
Salary: $14.5 million per year
26-years-old | Brazil
Transfer fee: $55.6 million to Shakhtar Donetsk
Salary: $11.5 million per year
Club: Shanghai Shenhua
30-years-old | Senegal
Transfer fee: $15.7 million to Besiktas
Salary: $6.7 million per year
29-years-old | Colombia
Transfer fee: $14.5 million to Inter Milan
Salary: $8 million per year