Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is worried that the big spending Chinese clubs could distort the European market and ultimately impact upon the Premier League.
The winter transfer window, which remains open until 26 February in China, has been notable for a series of remarkable deals involving clubs from the newly-enriched Super League.
Last month Ramires moved to Jiangsu Suning from Chelsea for £25m and on Thursday it was confirmed that Alex Teixeira would be joining the same club from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal worth a reported £38m. Earlier this week, Atletico Madrid agreed to sell Colombian striker Jackson Martínez to Guangzhou Evergrande for £31m.
The Super League clubs can not only match their European counterparts when it comes to transfer fees, but they can also offer the kind of wages that would turn any player’s head. Teixeira is reported to be on a weekly salary of £150,000 a week, an astonish wage for an uncapped player.
“It all happened very quickly, in just a twinkling, I was at the airport, going to (Shakhtar’s) training camp venue (in Spain),” said the Brazilian. “And my agent phoned me up. He said that Shakhtar had received a €50m offer. I immediately wondered whether it would be good for me, my family, the club, and took the appropriate decision.”
Wenger sees a knock-on effect in Europe and believes the Premier League could be concerned.
“Yes, of course, the Premier League should be worried,” said Wenger. “Because China looks to have the financial power to move a whole league of Europe to China.
“We are long enough in this job to know that it’s just a consequence of economic power and they have that. Will they sustain their desire to do it? Let’s remember, a few years ago, Japan started to do it and slowed down after. I don’t know how deep the desire in China is, but if there’s a very strong political desire, we should worry.”
Wenger was asked whether the Chinese clubs could inflate the market.
“Yes, they could,” he replied. “But I believe that anyway the inflation is on our doors with the next TV deal in the summer. That will move up again the transfer prices. I am sure that soon the £100m target will be easy to reach.”