“The Chinese Super League reminds me of the NY Cosmos in the 1970's”, observed a colleague of mine yesterday as news emerged that Pepe has been linked with a move to the CSL. The New York Cosmos were the flagship for the ill fated NASL It was a club in a league who paid well, offered enough competition to satisfy the ego of the players who had lost their "engine" as they entered the twilight of their careers. The likes of Pelé, Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Cruyff, 'Torpedo' Müller and a handful of Spanish players, most notable Velázquez who played in Toronto all spent time with various NASL franchises.
The brief soccer boom in the US happened in the 1970's and the bust came with the suspension of activities by the NASL in 1985. Qatar have managed to attract some star names with the likes of Guardiola, Hierro and Xavi playing in the Gulf state but the new force on the global market undoubtedly is China. Chinese teams are linked to big corporations as was the case in Mexico and more recently in Russia. This enables the CSL clubs to pay above market value. At present the Chinese league has been capable of attracting, not necessarily those players of hoping to win the Champions League but the next level. Their financial clout has certainly seen them emerge as a threat to many mid ranking European clubs unable to compete against the Chinese economic muscle.
Tebas fears Premier
In recent times we've seen the likes of Tévez, Jackson, Pellé, Óscar and Hulk moves to Chinese outfits and rumours are circulating that Ángel Di María may be in line to join them. LaLiga president Javier Tebas feels the threat for LaLiga's development comes from the Premier League as the average CSL teams are generally composed with a major international name or two and complimented by local talent whilst the Premier League has an unstoppable popularity. What's happening in Chinese football is certainly a phenomenon and most interesting to see the implication of president Xi Jinping in these developments. We've also seen an export of the Chinese financial muscle in LaLiga with recent investment in Atlético Madrid, Espanyol, Granada and perhaps at Celta.