China cannot build a soccer culture overnight by splurging on overseas players, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said.
The Chinese Super League recently witnessed two high-profile additions as Argentina striker Carlos Tevez moved to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua and Brazil midfielder Oscar joined Shanghai SIPG for huge salaries.
Reports suggest that Shenhua paid 84 million euros ($89.66 million) for Tevez, who returned to Argentina last year after spells in England and Italy.
Oscar joined local rival SIPG from Chelsea in a deal believed to be worth 60 million euros.
A spate of other footballers, playing in different European leagues, have also been linked to a move to China.
“You do not create a top league just like that. When you want to be a football player your first aspiration is to play in the best league with the best players,” the Arsenal boss told British media.
“After that, you want to combine playing in the best league with the best players for the maximum amount of money. That combination is best in England right now. But professional football in England was created 150 years ago.
“And we still struggle. I believe it’s a slow process of creating a football culture. In China it’s new. The culture of professional football is not there. So it will take time,” the Frenchman said.