Unprecedented wages at uncertain restart date, unpaid wages and deepening unrest – The Athletic

At the height of the madness, one couldn’t help but wonder where it was all going to end.

In the span of 10 days at the start of January 2016, the Chinese Super League (CSL) transfer record was broken three times. First, Jiangsu Suning paid Chelsea £ 24million to sign Ramires. Then, Guangzhou Evergrande paid Atletico Madrid £ 25million for Jackson Martinez. Not wanting to be outdone, Jiangsu Suning went even higher, watching Liverpool to lure Brazilian winger Alex Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal worth £ 38.5million.

And that was just the transfer fee. Salaries were at another level. Ramires has seen his salary double to over £ 10million a year. Likewise Teixeira, who was not even a full-fledged international.

“(Chinese clubs) seem to have the financial power to attract all European players,” Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger warned. “There is a very strong political will in China to become a great player and we (the Premier League) have to be concerned.”

And so on. In that year’s summer window, Hebei China Fortune bought Ezequiel Lavezzi from Paris Saint-Germain, before Shandong Luneng signed Papiss Cisse from Newcastle United and Graziano Pelle from Southampton. Shanghai SIPG broke the transfer record by signing Brazilian striker Hulk from Zenit St Petersburg for £ 45million, giving him a £ 320,000-a-week contract.

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