In Brief

Chinese Super League clubs accused of 'burning money'

Beijing threatens to impose spending caps as big-money signings continue to head east

On the same day that John Obi Mikel announced he was leaving Chelsea for Tianjin Teda, China's chief sports governing body unveiled plans to cap the big spending of their Super League clubs.

The Nigerian midfielder left Stamford Bridge after a decade in London on a contract that will net the 29-year-old an estimated £140,000-a-week. Mikel's move to the Far East is the third in a month, following Chelsea teammate Oscar's move to Shanghai SIPG (for a record £60m) and the £40m capture by Shanghai Shenhua's of Argentine striker Carlos Tevez. 

The former Manchester City frontman will pocket a cool £310,000-a-week, and he's unlikely to be the last high profile player to head to China with Wayne Rooney, Alexis Sanchez and Cristiano Ronaldo all linked in recent weeks to the world's most ambitious league. 

The latter's agent, Jorge Mendes, said last month that his client had received an offer of an £85m annual salary if he left Real Madrid for an unnamed Chinese club.

But BBC Sport reports that China's General Administration of Sport has expressed concern at the sums being bandied around by the Super League and announced its intention to bring the clubs under stricter financial control before the 2017 league campaign opens in March. 

Declaring that some of the clubs were "burning money", a spokesman for the government body promised that they would "strengthen examination and supervision of clubs' financial affairs, progressively control clubs' expenditures on first-team players and ensure favourable financial conditions".

Following Oscar's move to Shanghai SIPG last month, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte voiced his fears at the growing influence of the Super League, saying: "The Chinese market is a danger for all. Not only for Chelsea, but all the teams in the world."

Conte's concerns were echoed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was asked this week about rumours linking Sanchez to the Chinese Super League. Explaining that he understood the lure of a mega-rich contract, he nonetheless urged all players to put quality before cash. "I believe the biggest pride is to compete at the top level," said Wenger. "I can understand when a player is 32 or 33 can have a massive contract in China and secure the rest of his life. But today, top-level competition is in England. You want to be in England."

Recommended

Jake Daniels comes out as gay: a landmark moment
Jake Daniels made his first-team debut for Blackpool against Peterborough on 7 May 
View from the terraces

Jake Daniels comes out as gay: a landmark moment

Messi vs. Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats and trophies
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats and trophies

Europa League final: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Rangers preview and predictions
The Uefa Europa League trophy at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium in Seville
The big match

Europa League final: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Rangers preview and predictions

‘Grim game of our times’: what is sportswashing?
Newcastle play their home games at St James’ Park
Talking point

‘Grim game of our times’: what is sportswashing?

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner