June 16, 2017

From Oscar to Pato, five big Chinese signings

From Oscar to Pato, five big Chinese signings

Chinese clubs spent heavily in recent transfer windows as the Chinese Super League (CSL) hit the headlines with a number of big-name, big-money signings.

Ahead of the opening of China’s four-week transfer window on Monday, AFP Sport looks at five major signings by CSL teams and how they have fared:

– Oscar (Shanghai SIPG) –
The biggest transfer in Asian football history saw SIPG manager Andre Villas-Boas sign a fellow Chelsea alumnus, attacking midfielder Oscar, for a whopping 60 million euros ($67 million).

Arriving to a hero’s welcome in January, Oscar immediately started repaying his hefty price tag with goals in the AFC Champions League as the Shanghai side set up a forthcoming quarter-final clash with Chinese rivals Guangzhou Evergrande.

The 25-year-old Brazilian international quickly became a fans’ favourite.

– Carlos Tevez (Shanghai Shenhua) –
Shenhua also made waves in Shanghai in January by signing Tevez, the former Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus striker, from Boca Juniors on a reported annual salary of 38 million euros, making him one of the world’s highest-paid footballers.

But the Argentine forward, 33, has failed to win over the fans and infuriated them after being spotted at Disneyland the same day he missed an important match due to injury.

In danger of becoming a hate figure.

– Hulk (Shanghai SIPG) –
The bulldozer of a Brazilian forward, 30, has been a huge success since signing for 56 million euros last year from Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.

The 30-year-old international bullies defences in the CSL and AFC Champions League, and together with Oscar and fellow Brazilian Elkeson comprises a terrifying forward three that would cut it in any league in the world.

Hit trouble when he was accused of punching the assistant coach of an opposing team. Hulk and Shanghai SIPG denied the allegation.

– Jackson Martinez (Guangzhou Evergrande) –
The Colombian predator arrived in China from Atletico Madrid in 2016 for an eye-watering 42 million euros with a big reputation and after reportedly rejecting interest from the English Premier League.

But while Guangzhou top the CSL, the 30-year-old forward has spectacularly failed to make an impact because of injury and poor form, and has been linked with a move away from China.

Could be shipped out in the coming weeks with his career in tatters.

– Alexandre Pato (Tianjin Quanjian) –
Enjoying his football again and has hit six goals in 12 games this season for an unremarkable Tianjin side.

Pato was touted as Brazil’s next superstar when, as a twinkle-toed 17-year-old, he shone as part of the Internacional side that beat Barcelona in the 2006 Club World Cup, breaking Pele’s record as the youngest scorer in a FIFA competition.

A move to European giants AC Milan followed but after initial success, injuries took their toll and his career stalled badly before Tianjin swooped for 18 million euros to take him off Villarreal’s hands.