Chinese Super League all-star starting XI

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The Chinese Super League has caused a considerable stir over the winter period having lured a host of superstar names to the east thanks to the staggering financial resources available.

According to Transfermarkt, the latest emerging superpower in club football has splashed a staggering £272 million on new signings during the current window.

That figure may yet increase with Chinese clubs allowed to buy and sell until the deadline of February 26.


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With the Chinese Super League now home to so many superstars, the mega-rich competition could form a staggeringly talented all-star XI.

Goalkeeper: Zeng Cheng

The first-choice goalkeeper for reigning Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande and the China national team is the only viable option between the sticks for this all-star side.

Cheng, 29, has been a reliable presence in goal since joining on a free transfer in January 2013, while he also has 31 senior caps for his country.

Centre-back: Ersan Gulum

Gulum is certainly one of the less glamorous stars to arrive in the Chinese Super League during the current transfer window yet no less likely to make an impact at his new club, Hebei China Fortune.

The Australia-born 28-year-old has developed a reputation as a leading centre-back throughout the Turkish football tiers and boasts a five-year stint with 13-time top-flight champions Besiktas on his CV.

Centre-back: Gil

Every three-man defence needs an athletic player like Gil. The 28-year-old is the typical Brazilian defender in many ways: energetic, quick across the ground and not afraid to occasionally venture forward and attempt to get on the end of crosses.

The towering centre-back brings a wealth of impressive experience to the Shandong Luneng back line with spells in Brazil and France to couple his five senior caps for the Selecao.

Centre-back: Trent Sainsbury

Sainsbury rounds off the last of the not-so-superstar names in this all-star line up. The 24-year-old centre-back, who played an integral role in Australia’s 2015 Asian Cup success, is reputedly capable of holding down a place in the Socceroos defence for years to come.

The former Central Coast Mariners star will begin his debut campaign with Jiangsu Suning this season following a two-year stay at Dutch Eredivisie outfit PEC Zwolle, whom he joined after making his name as a classy, ball-playing centre-back in his homeland.

Central midfield: Ramires

The dynamic midfielder has hit the ground running following his £25 million departure from Chelsea in the late stages of the January transfer window.

Ramires, hardly a regular goalscorer throughout his six-year career at Stamford Bridge, blasted in a sumptuous volley most strikers would be proud of during his Jiangsu Suning debut against Anzhi Makhachkala.

It might have only been a friendly match, but Chinese Super League fans will surely be excited by a player of his quality making such a bright start to life outside Europe.

Central midfield: Fredy Guarin

Despite a somewhat rocky final two seasons at Inter Milan, Fredy Guarin must still be considered one of the most versatile midfielders in world football.

Capable of fulfilling almost any role in the middle third of the park, the 29-year-old Colombian is an exciting capture for Shanghai Shenhua, who will be hoping to see the best of his all-action style and powerful shooting.

Right-wing: Gervinho

Irrespective of his reported £13.5 million price tag, the Ivorian is sure to become a fan favourite at Hebei China Fortune with his exciting dribbling skills and electrifying pace.

Gervinho has all the necessary attributes to wreak havoc against Chinese Super League full-backs, who will be sweating over the prospect of coming up against the reborn speedster.

Left-wing: Ezequiel Lavezzi

It’s no secret top players demand top salaries, but Ezequiel Lavezzi’s reported £400,000-per-week deal with Hebei China Fortune is frankly out of this world.

Regardless of the fortune going into his bank account each week, the Argentine is a remarkably exciting player who still possesses the quality to play at the highest level in Europe.

Attacking-midfield: Alex Teixeira

Teixeira is currently the most expensive Chinese Super League signing of all time following his £38.4 million move to Jiangsu Suning in early February.

Unswayed by reported interest from the likes of Liverpool, the Brazilian opted to pursue the big bucks in China in one of the shock transfers of the winter window.

He brings with him an abundance of confidence on the ball, an eye for goal, and most importantly in the eyes of his new employers, the ability to put bums on seats at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center.

Striker: Jackson Martinez

If there’s one January move capable of topping Teixeira to Jiangsu Suning in terms of shock value, it must be Jackson Martinez’s blockbuster arrival at Guangzhou Evergrande.

The Chinese club forked out £31 million to prise the Colombian striker from Atletico Madrid in a deal to further underline the division’s enormous financial clout.

Martinez managed to score only three goals during his brief stint at the Vicente Calderon, though the rest of the Chinese Super League will certainly be wary of his frightening goalscoring record in Portugal.

Striker: Obafemi Martins

It seems a lifetime ago the Nigerian forward departed Newcastle United for Wolfsburg in 2009. However, his lack of global attention hasn’t seen a decline in his eye for goal.

Martins has since plied his trade in Russia, Spain, the English Championship and most recently America, where he struck a handy 43 goals in 84 appearances.

The 31-year-old has retained his blistering speed with and without the ball at his feet, which will have Chinese Super League fans keenly awaiting his debut for Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

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