It is a turbulent time in football at the moment, with impending changes to the FIFA World Cup, and growing financial muscle in the Chinese Super League grabbing the headlines. It is the latter which has caused the bigger stir, with Arsene Wenger, in particular, raising concerns over the amount of money that has flooded into the Chinese game.

Naturally, the increased amount of money available to spend for clubs in China has resulted in several big name stars deciding to move to the Super League for the riches. Players such as Graziano Pelle, Carlos Tevez, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Oscar have switched from European football to the Chinese Super League, while names such as Wayne Rooney, Dimitri Payet and, most notably, Diego Costa have all been linked to mega-money moves. Costa, for example. Was linked with a move which would see him being paid a whopper £30 million a year.

Right off the bat, there has been a litany of criticism aimed at the players who take such a lucrative move but just how fair is this criticism? Well, not very.

In the case of Diego Costa, if rumours surrounding a possible move are to be believed and he wants to move to China, there’s very little reason for him to be criticised for the decision. Here is a 30-year-old striker who has had problems with injuries in the past and will have problems in the future. These injury problems, coupled with his age, means that he is unlikely to be a sought-after name amongst the big clubs in Europe, despite his obvious talent.

As a result of this, rather than remain at his current club where, admittedly, he earns more money than a lot of people would even dream of, he decides to move to China for the remainder of his career where he will earn close to 8 TIMES what he already does. Not only will HE be set for the rest of his life, but so will his children and grandchildren at that.

As for Oscar, he is a player who never really fulfilled his potential, was rarely started at Chelsea, and was unlikely to be signed by the big clubs in Europe so he opts to move to China for unrivalled financial security for the rest of his life.

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Oscar holding up the shirt of his new club Shanghai SIPG following his £52 million move from Chelsea.

There is really no reason to begrudge two players who seek a better life for themselves and their families.

Additionally, it is rather ironic that the English media and individuals within the Premier League have raised such concerns as it is the money within the Premier League that has shaped and moulded the market which has ballooned out of control. The money that has flooded into the English game since the turn of the millennium has contributed more towards “player greed” than China could possibly try to. Not only that, but the amount of cash in the Premier League has created the environment whereby China has to pitch these mammoth salaries in order to draw big names.

A lot has been made about the money that is available for players in China. It has resulted in numerous players choosing the life of luxury in China rather than the life of slightly-less luxury in Europe. The talk about these players being greedy is harsh as nobody should be blamed for wanting a better life for themselves and their families. From the footballing point-of-view, not only does China lack the footballing culture to pose any real threat, but the recent caps on how much can be spent on wages in the CSL should quell any remaining fears.

Andrew Ryan

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