China’s spending spree is “no guarantee” of international success; just look at England, warns Ki

Xi Jinping China

Chinese spending in the football market hasn’t gone unnoticed. Many are under the impression that the Chinese’ massive investment will help clubs strike gold in the future. Very recently, Liverpool Football Club has garnered the interest of Chinese investors. A Chinese-backed investment group are looking at buying a stake in Liverpool, with the club reportedly being valued at £1 billion.

Similarly, fans, especially those in China, are also under the impression that the country’s massive spending on foreign players will somehow guarantee them international success.

South Korea captain Ki Sung-Yueng has come out with a warning claiming China’s massive spending on foreign players didn’t necessarily guarantee them the international success they seek. He has cited the example of the England national team.

Italy’s Graziano Pelle reportedly became one of the world’s highest paid players when he joined Shandong Luneng from Southampton. He is just one of the latest coups for the cash-rich Chinese Super League.

Chinese clubs are paying record fees to woo stars away from Europe and boost interest in the domestic league. In 2016, Chinese investors have spent over $3 billion to buy stakes in European clubs, with the stated aim of bringing football know-how back to China.

Swansea City’s Ki spoke after South Korea’s 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over China late on Thursday. While he did concede that China’s spending spree had helped raise standards in Asian Football, he also put across the point that a star-studded domestic league doesn’t mean China would achieve President Xi Jinping’s trident goal of hosting, participating and winning the World Cup at some point.

“It’s good for Asian Football that there is so much investment in Chinese Football it helps Asian Football develop and it is good for the Chinese Super League. Signing good foreign players is no guarantee that the country will develop,” said Ki.

“There are many good players from all over the world in the English Premier League, but the results of the England national team are not good.”

To put his comments in context, it should be noted that the English Premier League clubs splashed out a record £1.17 billion (US$1.55 billion) in the July-August transfer window. The England national team did poorly in the recently concluded European Championship this summer. The Three Lions falling to lowly Iceland, 1-2, in the Round-of-16 stage of this summer’s Euro 2016.

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