The Chinese Super League continue to splash the cash around Europe with Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande the latest club to smash China’s transfer fee record after signing Atletico Madrid’s unsettled Colombian striker Jackson Martinez for €42m (£32m).
The purchase broke the week-old Chinese record fee of €28m paid by Jiangsu Suning to acquire Brazilian midfielder Ramires from Chelsea.
It lifted the Chinese Super League’s total spending during the current transfer window to €203.9m, according to website transfermarkt which tracks commercial dealings in the sport, second only to the English Premier League.
Chinese businesses have invested huge sums in football since President Xi Jinping, an avowed fan of the sport, declared that hosting, qualifying, and winning a World Cup were national goals.
When Evergrande approached Atletico they must have thought that Christmas had came a month late. The fear in Madrid was that Atletico would have to write-off the massive investment in Martinez but the richest club in China stepped in with a huge bid and Atleti manager Simeone now wants the cash used to help bring back one of his favourite former players.
Atleti signed Martinez last year for €35m from Porto where he had scored an impressive 92 goals in 133 games. But he failed to settle in the Spanish capital scoring just two goals in 15 La Liga appearances.
Atletico has tried to entice Chelsea to take Martinez as part of a cash+player deal for former Atleti striker Diego Costa, but the Blues turned down that offer last month.
But with the €42m in the bank, Atletico Madrid will be back for Costa who has never properly settled in London and has remained in contact with various former team-mates telling several of them that he would like to return.
He even had a meeting with the club’s chief executive Miguel Angel Gil in the summer in Ibiza.
After a poor start to the season Costa’s form has improved of late under Guus Hiddink but he would still be open to going back to Spain if the deal can be worked out.
Costa went public over his desire to return when interviewed by Spanish radio Onda Cero in December.
He was asked: ‘Atletico Madrid supporters think you are going to come back’ and the Chelsea striker replied:
‘You never know. Life has many turns. Look where Felipe Luis is now. I always support them.’
Costa scored 64 goals in 135 games in all competitions during his time at the Vicente Calderon.