In recent years we have seen an increase in the development and investment of foreign football leagues such as the MLS and the Australian A-League.
The latest nation to be added to the list of up and coming football leagues is China and their Super League which was formed 12 years ago.
The Chinese Super League kicked off at the weekend but not one Chinese player scored as 16 goals were recorded.
Goal scorers including a list of former Premier League stars such as Gervinho, Tim Cahill and Demba Ba. Another goal scorer was Liverpool’s January transfer target, Alex Teixeira who signed with Jiangsu Suning for an Asian transfer record fee of €50 million.
Charlie Russell spoke to former Mansfield Town midfielder, Kyle Nix about his move to Asia in 2013 and how the Thai football leagues can develop in a similar way to the Chinese Super League.
“Thailand needs to build an infrastructure from grassroots so they can learn to teach the local players from an early age. China as well as Japan and Korea all have this which has shown in the Asian Champions League games recently.
“With the money that Chinese clubs are throwing around, this makes it difficult for Thai clubs to compete.”
Nix went onto comment on his first impressions of the Thai League when he signed for Chiangraj United in 2013
“My first impression was that the football was a little slower tempo because of the heat.
“It’s very hard to compare Thai football to the English divisions because the football tends to be more direct, quicker and physical in the lower divisions. “
The former Mansfield man revealed his plans for the future, saying: “I still want to be involved in football, passing on the knowledge from my career which has been very up and down but it’s been a great learning experience.
“I think I would be successful in either coaching kids from a young age or something to do with senior football.”
With a number of big names recently moving to China and another list full of players who are expected to move there in the future, Nix finished by commenting on the best players he has played alongside during his career.
“I got invited for a trial at Sparta Rotterdam when I was at Mansfield. Their captain was a young lad called Kevin Strootman who now plays at Roma.
“Also there was a Brazilian named Jerri Farais at Chiangrai who played for Santos. They were both on another level!”
TOP THREE PLAYERS WHO SHOULD MOVE TO CHINA
- John Terry – With a Stamford Bridge exit approaching, Terry would be a key target for a number of big sides in China. The Chelsea captain would bring a wealth of experience to any side and with this the defender would be offered a large amount of money.
- Radamel Falcao – China is the perfect place for Falcao to rebuild his career. After a disappointing spell with Manchester United and another poor loan with Chelsea, the Colombian would be able to conquer his injury problems and secure some first team action.
- Stéphane Sessègnon – West Brom’s attacking midfielder’s contract expires this June and with the likes of Demba Ba playing in China, Sessègnon would be able to play for a team such as Shandong Luneng Taishan, who finished third in 2015.