sport news From Oscar to Tevez: How European stars fared in the Chinese Super League

The Chinese Super League is renowned for lucrative pay packets attracting many of Europe's biggest names – but how have they fared since making the switch?

Marko Arnautovic recently admitted to underestimating the Chinese Super League after joining Shanghai SIPG for £23million in July 2019. The former West Ham forward said that he didn't treat the league with sufficient respect as he didn't train properly or look after his body.

With the CSL's quality below that of the European top-flights, a number of high-profile footballers have been making the trip to the Far East to see out the end of their career or to alternatively rediscover their form. 

Ex-West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic admitted he underestimated the Chinese Super League

Ex-West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic admitted he underestimated the Chinese Super League

Though, for many the switch wasn't quite what they had expected. Ramires was dropped to the Jiansu Suning reserve team, while Anthony Modeste was threatened with legal action.

The move was, however, worth it for Paulinho who caught the attention of European giants Barcelona and Odion Ighalo, who landed himself a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.     

Sportsmail have rounded up 10 of China's most lucrative deals to see who sacrificed their career for a hefty payday and who thrived in the Far East. 

Oscar

Years in China: 2017-Present

Teams: Shanghai SIPG

The Brazilian playmaker, Oscar, has become a hero for Shanghai SIPG since moving to China in 2017.

Oscar agreed to sign a four-year deal with Shanghai worth £20.8m - making him one of the world's highest-paid players at the time. 

Having finished runners-up in the Super League in 2017, Oscar's debut season saw Vitor Pereira's side secure the title for the first time in the club's history.

Oscar played a pivotal role in their success by providing 19 assists – beating Renato Augusto and Hulk's tally for the season.

Proving that the CSL is not a graveyard for footballers, Oscar went on to add a further 12 goals to his tally in all competitions.

The Brazilian playmaker, Oscar, has become a hero in Shanghai since moving to China in 2017

The Brazilian playmaker, Oscar, has become a hero in Shanghai since moving to China in 2017 

Paulinho

Years in China: 2015-17, 2018-Present

Teams:  Guangzhou Evergrande

Like those before him, Paulinho was accused of chasing the money when he left Tottenham for the CSL in 2015. 

Despite criticism of him signing for Guangzhou Evergrande for £13m, Paulinho insisted the transfer was solely down to footballing reasons. 

Since singing for the Chinese side, Paulinho has transformed from the player who struggled to make Tottenham's squad to a top class footballer. 

Under World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's tutelage, Paulinho has helped his team win two league titles, one domestic cup and the Asian Champions League. 

Having impressed during his first stint in China, the Brazilian went on to spend a season at Barcelona before rejoining the seven-time Chinese champions in July 2018.  

Paulinho was accused of chasing the money when he left White Hart Lane for the CSL in 2015

Paulinho was accused of chasing the money when he left White Hart Lane for the CSL in 2015

Axel Witsel

Years in China: 2017-18

Teams: Tianjin Quanjian

Axel Witsel turned down a move to Juventus in favour of a lucrative deal from Chinese outfit Tianjin Quanjian in 2017.

Witsel snubbed the Italian giants for a £255,000-a-week deal but still managed to develop under Tianjin boss and 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro.

Witsel also scored Tianjin's first-ever goal in the Chinese Super League as they finished their debut season in third place.

He did, however, admit to missing 'top level' football and has since returned from the Far East to sign a four-year deal with .

Axel Witsel turned down a move to Juventus in favour of a lucrative deal with Tianjin Quanjian

Axel Witsel turned down a move to Juventus in favour of a lucrative deal with Tianjin Quanjian

Mousa Dembele

Years in China: 2019-Present

Team: Guangzhou R&F

Mousa Dembele, who made 249 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham since joining for £15m from Fulham in 2012, signed for Guangzhou R&F in January 2019. 

In his first 11 matches for the Chinese side, Dembele scored one goal and registered four assists, despite previously experiencing a drought on that front at Spurs. 

During his career at Tottenham, Dembele only ever scored 10 goals despite playing nearly 250 games.

When speaking of his transfer to China, Dembele said: 'I like to see myself as open-minded. That is one of the reasons I wanted to come to China. I wanted to see something different.

'I wanted to have a different experience in life. I heard already there is good food in Guangzhou. I will try this a lot. I think my family will enjoy it as well here.' 

In his first 11 games for Guangzhou R&F Mousa Dembele scored one goal and got four assists

In his first 11 games for Guangzhou R&F Mousa Dembele scored one goal and got four assists

Alex Teixeira

Years in China: 2016-Present

Team: Jiangsu Suning

Once a target for Premier League champions Liverpool, Alex Teixeira chose the Chinese Super League over the English top-flight.

Teixeira signed for Jiangsu Suning instead of the Reds for £45m in 2016, spending his peak years in the Far East.

During his four seasons at the club, the attacking midfielder has contributed 67 goals in 143 games, adding 41 assists in all competitions.

Alex Teixeira snubbed interest from Premier League champions Liverpool for Jiangsu Suning

Alex Teixeira snubbed interest from Premier League champions Liverpool for Jiangsu Suning

Marouane Fellaini 

Years in China: 2019-Present

Team: Shandong Luneng

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