Guangzhou Evergrande – Building A Brazilian Trademark

Guangzhou Evergrande – Building A Brazilian Trademark

Yesterday Guangzhou Evergrande announced the signing of Tottenham Hotspur’s Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for a fee of €14 million. While Paulinho is not Guangzhou’s most expensive transfer -- that honour goes to fellow Brazilian Ricardo Goulart who was bought from Cruzeiro Esporte Clube in January for €15 million -- Paulinho’s transfer is nonetheless remarkable as he is trading football in one of Europe’s top leagues, for the emerging Chinese Super League (CSL). The number of foreign players is restricted to five per CSL team, included in the five is a slot for a player from an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) country. A team is permitted to use four foreign players on the field in each game, including at least one player from an AFC country. Including Paulinho, Guangzhou now has four Brazilians; the other Brazilians are Elkeson, Alan, and the above-mentioned Ricardo Goulart, on its squad. In addition, former Brazilian national team coach Luiz Filipe Scolari coaches the club. One Twitter user has commented that Guangzhou is starting to resemble the Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, which last season employed 13 Brazilians. While there might be some parallels between Guangzhou and Shakhtar Donetsk, upon closer inspection the differences become apparent. Shakhtar purchases mostly young talented Brazilian players who can be developed and sold for a profit. This model is an essential part of the club’s philosophy and countless examples, such as the recent transfer of Douglas Costa, who was originally purchased for €8 million, and then sold to Bayern Munich for €35 million, underline this. Shakhtar’s model works because the club can participate in the lucrative UEFA Champions League where the Brazilians can prove their talent at the highest level of competition to clubs from the big leagues in Spain, Germany, Italy, and England. Even though Guangzhou regularly participates at the AFC Champions League, and even won the competition in 2013, Brazilians playing in Asia will not receive the same focus of public and media attention as their counterparts playing in Ukraine, or Russia. Also, Guangzhou’s business model is not to purchase Brazilians to sell them for a profit; their goal is instead part of a larger strategy intended to increase the professional level of the Chinese Super League. The prevalence of this approach is highlighted by the fact that Guangzhou Evergrande is not the only CSL club to have invested in Brazilian talent. The Foreign Player list on wildeastfootball.net reveals that, the vast majority of foreigners playing in China are Brazilian. The foreigners employed by Shandong Luneng Taishan, for example, includes four Brazilians and one Argentinian. Shandong’s Brazilian striker Diego Tardelli became the first Brazilian player who was selected for the Brazilian national team while playing in China. The transfer of highly talented Brazilians to China, therefore, is not comparable to the practice of European clubs such as Shakhtar or TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in which Brazilians are part of an investment strategy to make the clubs financially independent from their owners. The Brazilian players have, in fact, been only a small part of the talent transfer from South America and Europe to Chinese football. Guangzhou serves as an interesting example of the very different motivation of the Chinese; the club, fuelled by the deep pockets of its owners the Evergrande Group and the Chinese Internet company Alibaba, has not only invested heavily in player talent but also has hired specialists from around the world in order to improve the club’s football infrastructure. Guangzhou represents Chinese football in general, which is using foreign specialists in an attempt to bring their football on par with that of other countries not only regionally but also world wide. By Manuel Veth -

Yesterday Guangzhou Evergrande announced the signing of Tottenham Hotspur’s Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for a fee of €14 million. While Paulinho is not Guangzhou’s most expensive transfer—that honour goes to fellow Brazilian Ricardo Goulart who was bought from Cruzeiro Esporte Clube in January for €15 million—Paulinho’s transfer is nonetheless remarkable as he is trading football in one of Europe’s top leagues, for the emerging Chinese Super League (CSL).

The number of foreign players is restricted to five per CSL team, included in the five is a slot for a player from an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) country. A team is permitted to use four foreign players on the field in each game, including at least one player from an AFC country. Including Paulinho, Guangzhou now has four Brazilians; the other Brazilians are Elkeson, Alan, and the above-mentioned Ricardo Goulart, on its squad. In addition, former Brazilian national team coach Luiz Filipe Scolari coaches the club.

One Twitter user has commented that Guangzhou is starting to resemble the Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, which last season employed 13 Brazilians. While there might be some parallels between Guangzhou and Shakhtar Donetsk, upon closer inspection the differences become apparent.

Shakhtar purchases mostly young talented Brazilian players who can be developed and sold for a profit. This model is an essential part of the club’s philosophy and countless examples, such as the recent transfer of Douglas Costa, who was originally purchased for €8 million, and then sold to Bayern Munich for €35 million, underline this.

Shakhtar’s model works because the club can participate in the lucrative UEFA Champions League where the Brazilians can prove their talent at the highest level of competition to clubs from the big leagues in Spain, Germany, Italy, and England.

Even though Guangzhou regularly participates at the AFC Champions League, and even won the competition in 2013, Brazilians playing in Asia will not receive the same focus of public and media attention as their counterparts playing in Ukraine, or Russia. Also, Guangzhou’s business model is not to purchase Brazilians to sell them for a profit; their goal is instead part of a larger strategy intended to increase the professional level of the Chinese Super League.

The prevalence of this approach is highlighted by the fact that Guangzhou Evergrande is not the only CSL club to have invested in Brazilian talent. The Foreign Player list on wildeastfootball.net reveals that, the vast majority of foreigners playing in China are Brazilian. The foreigners employed by Shandong Luneng Taishan, for example, includes four Brazilians and one Argentinian. Shandong’s Brazilian striker Diego Tardelli became the first Brazilian player who was selected for the Brazilian national team while playing in China.

The transfer of highly talented Brazilians to China, therefore, is not comparable to the practice of European clubs such as Shakhtar or TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in which Brazilians are part of an investment strategy to make the clubs financially independent from their owners. The Brazilian players have, in fact, been only a small part of the talent transfer from South America and Europe to Chinese football.

Guangzhou serves as an interesting example of the very different motivation of the Chinese; the club, fuelled by the deep pockets of its owners the Evergrande Group and the Chinese Internet company Alibaba, has not only invested heavily in player talent but also has hired specialists from around the world in order to improve the club’s football infrastructure. Guangzhou represents Chinese football in general, which is using foreign specialists in an attempt to bring their football on par with that of other countries not only regionally but also world wide.

By Manuel Veth –

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