What is going on here???
After rumors emerged this week that Chinese Super League team Jiangsu Suning was set to offer Shakhtar Donetsk an eye-popping €50 million for their star forward Alex Teixeira—breaking the league’s record fee that was just set earlier this week when Guangzhou Evergrande bought Jackson Martínez from Atlético Madrid for €42 million—many still didn’t believe the move would go through. Sure, the Super League was in the midst of a breakout transfer window, capturing the attention of the entire Western world by bringing in an assortment of very talented players for enormous salaries, but Teixeira was something else. This was a legitimate, Champions League-quality stud in his prime (he just turned 26) who only days ago was subject of a reported €36 million bid from Liverpool. The thinking went that Teixeira would bide his time for another few months, continue excelling for Shakhtar, and come next summer, get that big-money move to one of the world’s premier teams.
Instead, Teixeira has apparently taken up Jiangsu Suning on their offer. According to both France’s L’Équipe, citing the Shakhtar manager, and Portuguese paper O Jogo, Teixeira is set for China. We don’t yet know the contract numbers, but they, too, must be staggering.
While even the Martínez transfer was on its own level compared to most of the others moves Super League clubs have pulled off of late, the Teixeira one is even more stunning. At least Martínez was getting up there in age and hadn’t meshed well at all with Atlético. And while the Martínez deal was more straightforwardly intriguing, this one is sort of disappointing.
Teixeira was right on the precipice of the big move to a European giant that could’ve made his career. The desire to get out of Donetsk, with all its turmoil, in favor of somewhere more peaceful and profitable could work as a reasonable explanation for why he’d choose to go to China now. But when you consider his prodigious talent and the fact that the transfer fee plus the wages likely mean he won’t be able to leave Jiangsu Suning any time soon, it’s a shame that he won’t be able to ply his trade on the game’s highest stages when he was so close to doing so.
And not only does this impact his club career, the move to China will also probably mean he won’t see any of the action with his national team that his play already deserves. If those in the Brazilian confederation have been too snobby to pay attention to potential internationals playing in Ukraine—and they have, as evidenced by the paucity of caps given to Willian, Teixeira, Fernando, and others until they moved to more established European leagues—they almost certainly aren’t going to be scouting China.
It’s Teixeira’s career to do with as he pleases, and this move will definitely make him a very rich man. Still, it’s hard not to see this and wonder if going to a relatively minor league like China’s the right move for the sake of his game, even if, as we’ve seen as of late, it’s proving a popular one.
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