Chinese Super League

Chinese Super League transfer boom over, says Shanghai SIPG boss Andre Villas-Boas

Most recent window sees only French striker Anthony Modeste move to Tianjin Quanjian, with other activity made up of free transfers and loanees as new rules take effect

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 3:26pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 3:29pm

Andre Villas-Boas believes the heady days of big spending in the Chinese Super League are over, calling swingeing new regulations that stymied the transfer market “a big surprise”.

The Shanghai SIPG coach has Brazilian stars Oscar and Hulk at the club after Super League teams splashed the cash in the winter and in transfer windows before that.

But the Chinese Football Association (CFA) moved to limit those types of deals, and in the most recent summer transfer window clubs mostly signed free transfer and loanees.

The most high-profile arrival was French striker Anthony Modeste to Tianjin Quanjian.

Modeste joined Tianjin on loan from Cologne in Germany with a view to a 29 million (HK$267 million) permanent move.

“The change of regulations implicates that the market will probably stop in China regarding this kind of transfer,” said Villas-Boas, who has been a constant critic of a series of rules introduced this season, including ones concerning the number of foreign players allowed in a squad and also governing the required use of players aged under 23.

“We will see how it moves forward next year. For now the market is closed, players can] only exit and when it opens we will see. But I don’t think the spending will continue as it was before.”

Shanghai SIPG boss Andre Villas-Boas defends ‘ridiculous’ use of Chinese Super League under-23 quota

Attacking midfielder Oscar joined SIPG in January from Chelsea for an Asian-record 60 million, but with him, Hulk and fellow Brazilian Elkeson firing the side to second in the table this season, Villas-Boas said the club had not planned “to do a lot” in the past transfer window, irrespective of the new rules.

In June, just as the window opened, the CFA said Chinese clubs paying more than 45 million yuan (HK$52 million) for a foreign player would need to pay a 100 per cent surcharge to a fund to develop the local game.

The move was designed to discourage heavy spending on overseas players and instead see cash go on promoting Chinese players.

“What we were expecting before, in the beginning of the season was for the rules not to change,” said former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Villas-Boas. “This was the big surprise of this season.”