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Top 5 players who should return to Europe from the Chinese Super League

  • The Chinese Super League isn't the strongest league in the world and some good players would be better off returning to European football.
Conor Lochrie
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 03 Feb 2018, 16:03 IST
Should Oscar head back to Europe?

The rise of the Chinese Super League has been a curious story in world football for a few years now. The money involved in the country has tempted many players to make the move from top European leagues: it has become an alternative version of the MLS in the U.S.A., a place to make a lot of money and play less stressful football.

The Chinese, however, do not want it that way and they fully envision their league being one of the best in world football in a short while.

For now, though, the standard of the football just isn't good enough to merit some quality players leaving for China. Recall the unfortunate example recently of Carlos Tevez, who moved to Shanghai Shenhua for 1 season, became one of the richest footballers in the world, then publicly condemned the league and the standard of play before fleeing back home to Argentina.

He was supposed to be one of the stars of the league, a player to attract similar talents to China but he was not shy in admitting that he had treated the whole thing like a holiday.

This is unfair to the Chinese, the fans most importantly, who deserve a quality league to match their appetite for the game, but as it stands, good footballers are wasting their time in the country.

They value the incredible wages on offer, naturally, but if they value their careers, they'd do well to return to European football, at least for a while. With that being said, this slideshow will look at 5 players in the CSL who should make such a move back to Europe:

#5 Cedric Bakambu (Beijing Guoan)

Bakambu has left arguably Europe
Bakambu has left arguably Europe's strongest league to move to the CSL

The most recent example, Bakambu's is a particularly sorry case. Outside of the big two teams in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Bakambu has been one of La Liga's best forwards for a few seasons now.

He scored 12 in his first season with Villarreal, 11 the next; he even increased his goals per game ratio during this campaign until January, slamming home 9 goals in just 12 appearances.

His talent came to the attention of those in the Far East and when Beijing arrived with an offer last month, Bakambu rescinded his contract with his Spanish club and made the move. Bakambu turns 27 in April and is at his peak; to spend it in an inferior league, against weaker defences who won't challenge the striker as much, seems to be poor judgment.

The DR Congo international has scored goals wherever he's played, from France to Turkey, and he certainly won't stop scoring in China.

The unfortunate difference that separates Bakambu from, say, David Villa, is that he had experienced success and the height of his career in Europe before heading elsewhere (to New York City FC); Bakambu has yet to win a major league trophy and it seems likely he never will.

There would have been many Premier League teams interested in a physical, imposing forward like Bakambu, so perhaps he could be tempted back from China in the summer if he inevitably keeps up his current form.

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Published 03 Feb 2018, 16:03 IST
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