Five of the biggest flops in the Chinese Super League

Chinese Super League (CSL) sides have been less inclined to splash the cash in recent times - and it is little wonder considering the number of high profile transfer mishaps. FourFourTwo looks back at five big-money foreign signings who flattered to deceive...

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Carlos Tevez

Famously describing his time in China as a ‘holiday’, it is unsurprising that Tevez seemed to take things rather leisurely during his stint with Shanghai Shenhua.

Reportedly commanding a weekly salary of €730,000 (S$1.1 million), making him the highest paid footballer in the world, the Argentine forward failed to endear himself to Chinese fans.

Tevez made a total of 20 appearances in all competitions for Shanghai Shenhua, scoring just four league goals.

Tevez was heavily chastised by fans and pundits alike for not taking matters seriously, as he constantly lacked match fitness and looked overweight.

Eventually, the petulant striker complained of home sickness, and returned to his hometown club Boca Juniors, where he now plays, for the third time.


Touted as the new Kaka after signing for Chelsea in 2012, the Brazilian playmaker never truly lived up to that billing, only entertaining with momentary flashes of brilliance.

Midway through new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s tenure in the winter of 2016, Oscar finally left the London side, for a staggering fee of €60 million.

Till date, Oscar has made 22 appearances for Shanghai SIPG, with only three goals to show for - a massive disappointment considering his pedigree and Premier League experience.

The baby-faced midfielder was also involved in an ugly brawl against rivals Guangzhou R & F in June 2017, where he intentionally booted the ball twice at opposition players, causing him to be retrospectively fined and banned for 8 matches.

Jackson Martinez

Nicknamed “Cha Cha Cha” for his dance-like movements on the field and entertaining celebrations, Jackson Martinez failed to entertain during his time in China.

Martinez made his mark in Portugal for Porto, firing 67 goals in 90 appearances, attracting the interest of major European clubs back in 2015.

After failing to impress at Atletico Madrid, the Colombian hitman was looking for things to improve in a relatively slower-paced league.

Martinez did not come cheap, and arrived for a hefty fee of €50 million. Yet, things stayed the same, with the 31-year old only making 10 appearances for Guangzhou Evergrande in 2016, scoring a grand total of four goals - a whopping €12.5 million per goal.

The following 2017 season, Martinez struggled with injuries and failed to make a single appearance, sealing his place as one of the biggest transfer flops in the Chinese Super League to date. He is currently still at the club.