2024 Chinese Super League line-up as it currently stands Part 1

2023 is now firmly in the rearview mirror and it’s time to look ahead to the 2024 Chinese Super League line-up, as it currently stands.

While Shandong Taishan remain in the AFC Champions League, set to face Kawasaki Frontale in the Round of 16, the picture for the 2024 domestic league season is already taking shape and teams are already returning to pre-season training in anticipation.

The future is always murky and unexpected in Chinese football, but these are the teams looking to contest the Chinese Super League in 2024, assuming they can all survive the long off-season and avoid any financial disasters as seen by some clubs in recent years.

Shanghai Port

Shanghai Port enter the 2024 campaign as the reigning champions of Chinese football, having secured their second Chinese Super League title since being founded in 2005.

2024 is expected to be influential Brazilian midfielder Oscar’s final season in China, so the red side of Shanghai will be eager to play to their potential and secure back-to-back titles in a fitting farewell to the club’s captain.

With plenty of international quality in the team, including Chinese internationals Yan Junling and Wu Lei, Shanghai Port will certainly be one of a couple of teams expected to make a genuine push for the 2024 league title once things kick off.

Shandong Taishan

On the back of a successful, yet potentially disappointing 2023, which ended with them falling short of both the CSL and Chinese FA Cup, finishing runners-up in both competitions, Shandong Taishan will be looking to mount another serious league challenge in 2024.

Marouane Fellaini is no longer with the club, having left after his contract expired, so some big boots will need to be filled after the Belgian international helped guide the club to the 2021 Chinese Super League title and four consecutive CFA Cup finals, with three consecutive victories between 2020 and 2022.

The core remains, however, and Shandong may even be viewed as favourites for the title after coming so close to a double in 2023, with the top two being the clear expectation for the team in the new year.


Zhejiang FC had a sensational 2023 campaign, guided to third in the league standings on the back of a dynamic offensive front led by strikers Nyasha Mushekwi and Leonardo, who combined for 27 league goals together (18 and 9 respectively, with Leonardo’s 10 with Changchun Yatai seeing him land the Golden Boot award).

Leonardo may not return in 2024, and Mushekwi’s future, at age 36, also remains a question mark so recruitment will be a crucial determiner in the club’s success for the forthcoming campaign.

A top-half finish will be the goal, especially if they lose their top two strikers, but if either or both of them return then they could conceivably push towards the title and make the likes of Shanghai Port and Shandong sweat.

Chengdu Rongcheng

After an impressive fifth-place finish in 2022, Chengdu Rongcheng proved they were not one-season wonders and stormed to fourth in 2023, on the back of a strong unit including Ai Kesen, Felipe, Tim Chow, and Manuel Palacios in midfield and up front.

Seo Jung-won has done an exceptional job in Chengdu and deserves to keep receiving positive investment from the club’s ownership, with the belief that the team’s next step is to push for a title challenge and maybe even make a charge for the CFA Cup.

Silverware could be the agenda for Chengdu in 2024, with a strong foundation to continue building around already in place.

Shanghai Shenhua

Shanghai Shenhua will be a curious team to watch in 2024, having finished fifth in the Chinese Super League and claimed their fourth Chinese FA Cup of the professional era.

Despite this success, Wu Jingui was ousted at the turn of the year in favour of former CSKA Moscow, Hull City, and Russia coach Leonid Slutsky.

Slutsky had plenty of success in Moscow earlier in his career and looked to have found some stability with Rubin Kazan in the Russian second tier before resigning in November after just under three years at the helm.

Shenhua’s squad has plenty of talent on the books, but the change of coach will come under scrutiny if results do not remain positive after ending the 2023 season on a high.

Beijing Guoan

Beijing Guoan has slipped down the pecking order since finishing second and third in 2019 and 2020 respectively, with finishes of seventh, fifth, and sixth following in the subsequent seasons.

The capital city club need some positivity after failing to live up to high expectations earlier this decade, and even results in the CFA Cup have been lacking, with only three quarter-final appearances in the years since claiming the trophy back in 2018.

The Imperial Guard need to maintain more of the positive results seen after Ricardo Soares took charge, and make a serious challenge for silverware in 2024.

Wuhan Three Towns

The 2022 Chinese Super League champions were unable to follow up with similar performances in 2023, finishing the season in seventh place, with some uncertainty emerging during the year.

Finances were pulled, which led to a number of key players being sold in the latter phase of the season, with the future of the club now largely a question mark at this stage.

Wuhan Three Towns may need to offload some players to reduce their wage bill, which will likely see them sit around the middle of the pack once again this season. If a stable financial situation can appear, then the club may once again make a charge towards the top of the standings.

Tianjin Jinmen Tiger

After looking almost certain to dissolve after being forced to change from TEDA to Jinmen Tiger, Tianjin look to have found stability and put in some promising performances in 2023.

They finished the season in eighth place, matching their output in 2022. Robert Berić, Ba Dun and Farley Rosa have proven to be sensible additions to the squad, and will likely feature prominently in 2024 as Tianjin look to finally move beyond the comfort of mid-table.

Yu Genwei, considered a legend in Tianjin football with his entire playing and coaching career revolving around his hometown, continues as manager and has already begun recruiting for the new season with Croatian midfielder Ivan Fiolić reportedly joining this season.

This is the first half of teams set to compete in the 2024 Chinese Super League season, with the next eight coming at a later date.