Red Raid: The 10 Most Expensive Chinese Deals
But earlier this year, huge transfer fees began being outlayed in China, with many CSL clubs spending big to lure top players.
The CSL is hoping to dominate Asian football in the coming years, so who is the most expensive player among those signed to date, according to website transfermarkt.com? Read on to find out...
Fredy Guarin – €13 million (S$19.45m)
The Colombian midfielder represented his country at the 2014 World Cup and 2011 Copa America and in total has made 58 appearances in national colours.
At club level, he won the Europa League with FC Porto in 2011 before moving to Inter Milan, where he spent the past four seasons prior to his move to China with Shanghai Shenhua.
Guarin turned 30 on June 30 this year, with his move to Shanghai confirmed on Twitter by his coach Gregorio Manzano ahead of the 2016 season.
Demba Ba – €13 million
A Senegalese striker who found fame during his time at Newcastle United from 2011-2013, Ba’s trademark is his ruthlessness in front of goal.
The 31-year-old typically only requires a handful of chances to score often-spectacular goals.
After a productive three-season spell at St. James’ Park he decided to move to Chelsea, but often found himself on the bench and scored just seven goals in 33 league games.
His next move was to Turkish club Besiktas and he rejuvenated his career there, responding with 18 goals in 29 league games.
However in June 2015, Ba surprised everyone by signing for Shanghai Shenhua, linking up with Mohamed Sissoko and Tim Cahill to help Shanghai reach the Chinese FA Cup final, falling short of the trophy.