As so often is the case when it comes to the Chinese Super League (CSL), the latest mega-deal to lure a superstar plying his trade in Europe comes down to money. Plain and simple.
This time it is all about whether or not an as yet un-named CSL team will be prepared to stump up a transfer fee (as well as a bulging pay packet said to be in the region of £300,000 a week) to snare Barcelona schemer Arturo Vidal.
Vidal, who is aged 32, is a bulldog of a midfielder who has won an incredible 105 international caps for Chile. Yet it has been claimed he will not have as much game-time next season at the Nou Camp given that manager Ernesto Valverde will be obliged to field new arrival Frenkie De Jong from Ajax.
The mystery club want the Catalan giants to allow Vidal to walk away from his current contract to make the switch, thus they will avoid having to stump up a fee. A similar bid occurred when Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was linked with a CSL move but club president Florentino Perez flatly ruled out any deal. In short, without a fee the Chilean is going nowhere.
Meanwhile, Beijing Guoan took their lead at the top of the table to five points thanks to a 2-1 win over strugglers Shanghai Shenhua in the last round of CSL fixtures — their 12th victory from 13 matches so far in this campaign.
Indecisive rear-guard play from Shanghai Shenhua in the 15th minute led to Guoan playmaker Piao Cheng scoring, and then midfielder Renato Augusto struck from distance to give the home side a 2-0 advantage at half-time.
The visitors dragged themselves back in to the game late on when they pulled a goal back out of nothing as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes — substitute Wu Zizhen struck to make it 2-1 but despite late pressure Shanghai Shenhua couldn’t draw level.
In second-place, Guangzhou Evergrande kept up the pressure on the league leaders by chalking up a 2-0 win over Shanghai East Asia, who are sitting in third place in the table. Former Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho grabbed both goals in the victory that keeps his side five points off top spot. The Brazilian ace, who has earned 56 international caps for the Samba stars, opened his account on 43 minutes and then wrapped things up right at the death with his second as the visitors cruised to another triumph.
Elsewhere, Dalian Yifang say they will not sell Yannick Carrasco to Arsenal unless the Gunners pay a fee of £25million. Boss Unai Emery is keen on bringing the winger to the Emirates and sees the Belgian flyer as a vital component to his set-up. He failed to lure the sideman, who is aged 25, on a loan deal in January.