European clubs should be worried by Chinese football's display of economic might in the January transfer window, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday (5 February). The Chinese Super League has outspent Europe's footballing elite with a series of high-profile signings that could still increase before its local transfer window closes on 26 February.
Jiangsu Suning smashed the league's transfer record for a third time in 10 days by signing Liverpool target Alex Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk for €50m (£38.5m, $56m). Asked at a news conference, ahead of Arsenal's trip to Bournemouth on 7 February, if Premier League clubs should be concerned by China's willingness to compete for top players, Wenger was emphatic.
"Yes, of course. Because China looks to have the financial power to move the whole league of Europe to China, and we are long enough in this job to know that is just a consequence of economical power, and they have that. Will they sustain their desire to do it? Because let's remember a few years ago, Japan started to do it and they slowed down after. I don't know how deep the desire in China is. But if it's a very strong political desire, we should worry," said the manager.
The Teixeira deal follows Guangzhou Evergrande's signing of Colombian striker Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid for €42m and Jiangsu's signing of Brazil midfielder Ramires from Chelsea for a reported €25m.
Wenger questioned whether China would sustain high levels of investment in football, and predicted even bigger transfers next season. "Yes it could, but I believe that the inflation is on our doors. With the next TV deal and the summer, [there] will be [a] move up again in transfer prices. I am sure that soon the £100m target will be easy to reach," said the Arsenal manager.