The Chinese Super League has been making waves with big-name signings and the most recent transfer window was a sight to behold.
Carlos Tevez made the move to Shanghai Shenua and will reportedly earn a salary of over £600,000 (Dh 2.7m) a week, making him the highest-paid player in the world.
He wasn’t the only one to succumb to the pull of China’s astronomical wages. Oscar swapped Chelsea for China, while Axel Witsel reportedly turned down a move to Juventus in favour of China.
There have been rumours that the Chinese Super League is trying to make Wayne Rooney its next marquee signing, with the Manchester United forward falling down the pecking order at his club. It would represent a stunning coup for the rapidly rising league.
With all of this heavy spending, is China poised to take over world football?
Championship Director Michel Salgado and his team of La Liga scouts were so impressed with the talent on view at the duFC this season in Abu Dhabi, they decided to expand the selection of top talents to a record 52 players – 32 in the U16 category and 20 in the U14 category.
Selected players will be invited to a final training clinic in Dubai in March before the unveiling of final talents in the U16 & U14 categories who will join the du La Liga High Performance Centre in April.
Talents in the U16 category will travel to Spain in August for a three-week training clinic and competitive matches with La Liga’s strongest youth clubs.
Commenting on the level of skills observed in Abu Dhabi, the Real Madrid legend Salgado said: “The players were motivated, focused and gave it their all, playing a superb level of football recognising that this is a unique platform where they have the chance to get discovered.”
“We are very impressed with the talents we have seen here and we have a difficult task ahead of us to make the final selection from this season’s duFC.”
Defenders: Connor Cowan, Ethan Jacob Collings, Mohamad Adel, Raed Alalaneh, Sergio Otero, Thomas Craig
Midfielders: Abdulrahman Salah, Ahmed Khaleel, Biar Maluth, Joshua Reuben Hendricks, Mohamed Rabia, Mohammed Amjad, Mohammed Haytham, Mohammed Rami Basem Chakra, Salem Mohammad, Sebastian Allsop
Strikers: Abdulla Alhashemi, Ameen Yaid, Anas Ben Khial, Carl Masrajian, Dillon Mensah, Eisa Al Qubaisi, Faisal Hamad, Hamad Hilal, Mohammed Eyad, Mohammed Nadeem, Mohammed Sameer, Mouad Muhammad, Moustafa Mohamed, Omar Taha, Saeed Almaqtri, Timi Esan
Goalkeepers: Karim Moamen, Zayed Abdulla
Defenders: Omar Azlan, Amr Bssem
Midfielders: Abdelrahman Taher, Anis Mahdi, Christian Perry, Khaled Amarah, Mohamed Sabri, Sarya Nouh, Waleed Bassam
Strikers: Ahmad Nashat, Akram Kabbani, Ashraf Zaheyr, Khaled El Mans, Mahmood Taimoom, Obaid Mohammed, Said Omar, Yannis Petras, Zaid Hiawaisarkh
West Ham Joint Chairman David Gold visited the Dubai Hammers supporters club to watch the team take on Watford in their Premier League match on Saturday.
I'm in Dubai on business but I will be watching the game against Watford live on the big screen at Nelson's. dg ⚒⚒⚒— David Gold (@davidgold) February 25, 2017
“It was fantastic to be with hard core fans in a pub enjoying the game,” Gold said. “It took me back to the days on the terraces. It was brilliant. I am out here on business and this was just a little bit special for me.”
Dubai Hammer in the Nelson pub Dubai. After a well deserved draw against Watford. Great crowd of West Ham fans. dg pic.twitter.com/jdWa1xmB1J— David Gold (@davidgold) February 25, 2017
The club’s leader, Dave Leader, has previously spoken about the supporters group to West Ham’s official TV channel, West Ham TV. “Everybody is passionate about their Club and and we didn’t realise that there were actually so many. On our Facebook page, we have over 500 members who are signed up, so everybody is passionate and we are out here for West Ham.”
It was my pleasure Dave. Great evening spent with great fans. dg https://t.co/XKp4juhu11— David Gold (@davidgold) February 25, 2017
“When we came up to the Premier League, there were pockets of West Ham supporters all over Dubai, so we decided to all get together to have one place to meet, That’s what we did, we organised a Supporters’ Club and here we are.”
“We see every single game, every kick, every week. There is normally a nucleus of around 40 to 50 guys who get together in the Nelsons Pub and they deck it out in flags and memorabilia and every game is shown live here so we are very fortunate.”