Blues boss could have joined CSL as spending continues

Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink at a press conference on Friday. Amid the recent throng of transfers to the Chinese Super League, he revealed he had an offer to join a team in the cash-rich competition.
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink at a press conference on Friday. Amid the recent throng of transfers to the Chinese Super League, he revealed he had an offer to join a team in the cash-rich competition. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has revealed that he had been approached to manage in the Chinese Super League (CSL).

He returned to Stamford Bridge for his second spell as Chelsea caretaker in December following Jose Mourinho's sacking, but the veteran Dutch coach was also offered the chance of taking a job with a team in the cash-rich Chinese league.

"I had some possibilities to go there in the recent past," Hiddink told reporters without expanding any further.

Jiangsu Suning are managed by former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu, while Sven-Goran Eriksson and Luis Felipe Scolari are also bosses in China.

Ramires was sold to CSL side Jiangsu by Chelsea during last month's transfer window and Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira moved to the same club for €50 million (S$78.5 million) to become China's record signing.

That took China's spending in its current transfer period, which closes on Feb 26, to €258.9 million and Hiddink knows that makes the country an attractive option for many.

COULD HAVE GONE THERE MYSELF

I had some possibilities to go there in the recent past.

GUUS HIDDINK, Chelsea interim manager, on being approached by a Chinese Super League club.

However, the former South Korea coach insists the Premier League, which has a global appeal and will soon have a further influx of cash from the new broadcast coverage deal, remains one of the sport's top financial superpowers.

"Of course when you travel around the world, the Premier League is so attractive, attracting a lot of people," he said.

"In the biggest cities to the smallest villages, wherever in the world there is a satellite showing Premier League."

The CSL is attracting attention, however, with former Manchester City and Brazil striker Jo the latest to take his talents to China.

Jo signed for Jiangsu from United Arab Emirates outfit Al-Shabab for an undisclosed fee, joining his compatriots Teixeira and Ramires at the club.

Meanwhile, Sevilla midfielder Gael Kakuta will join Gervinho at Hebei Fortune, the newly-promoted CSL club announced yesterday.

The 24-year-old Kakuta holds dual citizenship in France and the Democratic Republic of Congo. His China move is reportedly worth €6 million.

The former Chelsea player appeared only 184 minutes for Sevilla since joining the La Liga side last summer, offering one goal and one assist.

AGENCE-FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'Blues boss could have joined CSL as spending continues'. Print Edition | Subscribe