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From Lavezzi to Anelka: Seven of the worst Chinese Super League signings so far

2017-03-05 13:43:35 | Author:Oliver Young-Myles | Source:squawka
Abstract:Such is the amount of money Chinese Super League clubs are spending on new players at the moment, it is only natural that a return on that vast investment is expected.

With players costing multi-millions in both transfer fees and wages, the onus is on them to make an impact as soon as they touch down in the China, where fans of their new teams congregate excitedly to welcome them.

Most of the CSL’s high-profile arrivals over the past few years have proven to be successful additions for their respective sides, whether they have been brought in as hot prospects from South America or proven and established stars from Europe.

That hasn’t exclusively been the case, though, with certain players failing to provide any real value for money, much to the dismay of the money men who brokered their deals in the first place.

As the transfer window shuts for Chinese Super League clubs, now is an opportune time to look at some of the players who delivered very little in the Far East despite being expected to do so.

*All fees sourced from transfermarkt


Ezequiel Lavezzi

Club: Hebei China Fortune

Signed from: PSG (2016)

Fee: £4.68m

The poster boy for the China Super League upon his arrival last February, Ezequiel Lavezzi has been an unmitigated disaster at Hebei China Fortune thus far.

Despite pocketing over £20m in wages since making the switch from Paris a year ago, Lavezzi is still awaiting his first competitive goal in Chinese football having failed to score in ten league matches last season.

A shoulder injury sustained while playing for Argentina at the Copa America Centenario last summer sidelined the former Napoli forward for longer than expected and he has only recently returned to action.

Although he’s amassed an absolute fortune in China, Lavezzi recently admitted he would love to return to Naples at some point in the future. The cheek of it!



Club: Jiangsu Suning

Signed from: Al Shabab (2016)

Fee: £1.7m

Yeah that one, the man deemed worse than Fred at the 2014 World Cup. has managed to carve out a pretty successful career for himself despite rarely sticking around at the same club for too long.

Following a short spell with Dubai-based club Al Shabab, Jô became the third high-profile Brazilian to join Jiangsu Suning, linking up with midfielders Alex Teixeira and Ramires in Nanjing.

A goal return of 11 from 26 matches doesn’t immediately smack of gross underachievement, however, only six of those came in the CSL and less than six months after signing, he was plonked into Jiangsu Suning’s reserve team.

In order to free up a spot for a foreign player in their squad – who turned out to be Colombian striker Roger Martinez – Jô was released early from his contract enabling him to return to Brazil to sign for Corinthians.


Gael Kakuta

Club: Hebei China Fortune

Signed from: Sevilla (2016)

Fee: £4.25m

Hebei China Fortune may look back on their 2016 transfer business with a real sense of regret as, just like Lavezzi, Gael Kakuta hardly set the world alight following his arrival from Europe.

The Frenchman, who was the subject of a bitter transfer dispute between Chelsea and RC Lens in his youth, managed a paltry two goals and three assists in 24 CSL games last season.

So disappointing was Kakuta, he was even allowed to leave the club on loan ahead of the upcoming season, returning to La Liga where he previously excelled with Rayo Vallecano, to sign for relegation threatened Deportivo La Coruna.


Alberto Gilardino

Club: Guangzhou Evergrande

Signed from: Genoa

Fee: £4.68m

A Champions League winner with AC Milan and World Cup champion with Italy, Alberto Gilardino finally got his hands on a first domestic league title in his career when he won the CSL with Guangzhou Evergrande in 2014.

His former manager at international level, Marcello Lippi, was influential in persuading his former charge to head east and although Gilardino helped the side win the title, he perhaps didn’t have as large an impact as anticipated.

In total, Gilardino scored six goals in 17 matches for the club but when Lippi left to take over the Chinese national team, he followed him out of the exit door pretty swiftly, signing for Fiorentina, Palermo, Empoli and Pescara in the past three years.


Mohamed Sissoko

Club: Shanghai Shenhua

Signed from: Levante (2015)

Fee: Free

With all due respect to Mohamed Sissoko, it is clear that Shanghai Shenhua have set their sights slightly higher this year compared to last considering their most recent marquee signing was Carlos Tevez.

Sissoko has represented some major clubs in his time including Valencia, Liverpool, Juventus and PSG, but his career has been on a downward ascent for a while now and he was unlikely to last long in a rapidly developing league.

Statistically, the former Mali international didn’t do too badly, scoring and assisting once apiece in 15 league outings, but he was released after just six months.

He’s since played for Pune City in the Indian Super League as well as Ternana in the second-tier of Italian football.


Lucas Barrios

Club: Guangzhou Evergrande

Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2012)

Fee: £7.23m

A double Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund, Guangzhou Evergrande’s capture of the Paraguayan international looked like serious business as he had struck an impressive 49 goals in 102 games for BVB.

Lucas Barrios helped Guangzhou win a league and cup double in his one and only season but had lost his place in the side to Elkeson by the end of the campaign. In total, he managed 13 goals in 32 matches; a respectable total but disappointing considering his prolific record in Germany that preceded it.

Just over a year after joining, Barrios was sold to Spartak Moscow and he has since played for Montpellier and Palmeiras.


Nicolas Anelka

Club: Shanghai Shenhua

Signed from: Chelsea (2012)

Fee: Free

It seems like a lifetime ago when Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka were turning out for Shanghai Shenhua in the first instalment of China’s attempts to take over the footballing world.

Unlike now, there didn’t actually seem to be any investment in the Chinese game which led to Anelka and Drogba abandoning their adventure pretty early on.

While Drogba fared pretty well, scoring eight goals in 11 games, Anelka really struggled to make a meaningful contribution finding the net just three times in 22 outings.

Anelka even took on a coaching role at the club after Jean Tigana was fired and was involved in a controversial bust-up with a Shanghai Shenhua fan after a game.



Related Information:

7 worst Chinese Super League