Cosmin Olaroiu, the Romanian football coach who is currently plotting an assault on the Chinese Super League (CSL) fortunes on behalf of his employers, Jiangsu Suning, has a certain mindset.
His vision is clear; he wants to dethrone the powerhouses of the CSL — and one in particular is very much is in the sights. That much is obvious when you look at the league table from last season and see, yet again, that Guangzhou Evergrande were title winners.
They saw off the challenge of Beijing Guoan, who came second after a long, hard season, to win the prized silverware and it can be concluded without stretching credulity too much that the architect of this success, Fabio Cannavaro, will once more have a desire for his side to be crowned CSL champions.
Cannavaro, who won the FIFA World Cup in 2006 in Italy after a 5-3 penalty shoot-out against France, is assessing his options ahead of the new campaign in terms of boosting his squad in readiness for the challenges.
Cannavaro, who briefly doubled up on his duties by managing the China national team as well as bossing Jiangsu Suning, will have a big opponent in the shape of Olaroiu. And it is the former who has struck the first blow when it comes to bringing in new faces.
He has swooped for no-nonsense Mubarak Wakaso, who is aged 29, to add some steel to his midfield — with the Ghanaian schemer switching to the CSL outfit after a spell in the Spanish La Liga with Deportivo Alaves.
Indeed, Mubarak goes to his new challenge with the blessing of his former club — with whom he has been since 2017 in which time he made 70 appearances and become a firm fans’ favourite. A message on the official Alaves club website said:
“Deportivo Alaves wants to thank Wakaso Mubarak for his professionalism and dedication during this time and wishes him the best of luck in his new stage.”
The deal comes after the new rules to keep a lid on escalating wages were brought in by the CSL authorities. There has been a mixed reaction to “financial sustainability measures” which include a cap on yearly wages for foreigners who ply their trade in China. The figure is said to be in the region of £3million. As well as the financial hit for foreign stars, Chinese players will only be able to earn around £1.4million.
Chen Xuyuan, the Chinese Football Association chairman, said that clubs had
“burned too much money and our professional football has not been run in a sustainable way. If we don’t take timely action, I fear it will collapse”.