They're not ruining football, so leave China alone

This seasons January transfer window has brought up more discussion in the football world than usual thanks to the continued emergence of the Chinese Super Leagues spending power. Millions upon millions has been spent by Chinese clubs on blockbuster moves for players from around Europe's biggest sides. It's different from previous moves by players to say the U.S in that those moving are now actually flocking at prime points in their careers. Chinese clubs are paying the premium for this and Europe, particularly English football is threatened by it, leading to unfair attacks on both those moving and their destination. 

The criticism is selfish and ridiculous. The majority of it stems from players just 'following the money', god forbid that someone would try to make as much money as they can in their profession. What's that? Oh but they make enough money already so should want to achieve things in the premier league which is established and has prestige. Right ok my bad, you should quit your job at the local cafe and go work at McDonald's because that's where the success is. I recommend you check out Steve Price and his account on the matter.

I'm not defending the ludicrous amounts of money in football but if it's something that isn't changing anytime soon, and it isn't, then I'm not going to blame Axel Witsel for taking the opportunity in China that will benefit his family more than a bit of silverware with Juventus might. Sure you can say you'd turn down a move to achieve things in Europe, that's fair enough and while I doubt your moral compass is so just, footballers will do the same. Keep in mind that moving to China is a massive culture shock, clubs aren't just paying for players to play in a lesser league but also to upheave their lives and move to another world.

However what bothers me is the hypocrisy and lack of hindsight. Maybe it's time people took a second before saying that the premier league is the ideal destination for footballers across the globe. Is that why the premier leagues best flock to Barcelona or Real Madrid once they peak? Also, I don't hear you crying when these two teams use their spending power to attract players. The destination of the worlds best footballers is fluid, in the 90's it was widely recognised to be Italy, it isn't always going to be the premier league. That idea is an outdated and dangerous delusion, sure it's fine to fight to have such a title but don't start crying when you can no longer attract the best of the best. 

It's not fair to attack China for using money to cultivate the game because it's the only way it can grow, let them embrace the sport, European ignorance to sharing football with the world is on par with the Americans who hilariously call the titles of their major sports 'world championships'. Because of this spending and the increasing desire of the Chinese government to popularise football, the sport will be opened up on a larger scale to its nearly one and a half billion population, not to mention the secondary impact on neighbouring Asian countries. That will mean millions more potential footballers will be entering the fray to counterbalance the talent draining eastwards, why can't one of those be the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? It's certainly a larger talent pool to pick from and has actually already begun according the agent masterminding the moves, Romain Woo. Furthermore don't think China have no desire to do this, investment in the sport at a grassroots level is high and league officials have introduced a cap on foreign players, something that the premier league could actually take a lesson from.

At the end of the day it seems to be an inane, insecure reflex on the part of English fans and pundits to see the best players shun their league, maybe if they saw the positives such as the opportunity to actually develop English talent if all the foreign talent moves away? Positions will be open and if going through the youth systems and producing the best English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish players is the way to go then so be it, our national teams will be better for it. Right now it takes stupid money to attract players to China but if it continues to a point where it actually becomes a major player in the football world, the sky-high fees will eventually level out with the rest. For now, don't be so critical, money makes the footballing world go round and China is just paying the premium to join the party.