Manchester United today completed the transfer of French player Paul Pogba from Juventus for a record-breaking transfer fee of £89 million ($115.5 million). But in recent months, European soccer clubs have had to tackle a new player in the international transfer market: China.
Investment on new soccer stars from teams in China's domestic Super League (CSL) is on the rise, with top foreign players being offered eye-watering sums to uproot and join clubs in the Middle Kingdom. In this industry at least, China seems to be paying considerable attention to importing, rather than exporting.
According to Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance, published in June 2016, China's "commitment to football has triggered investment of c.£200 million in playing talent by Chinese Super League Clubs in the 2016 winter transfer window." This is more than any other country. During transfer season earlier this year, CSL signings broke Asian records three times in 10 days.