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What does Manuel Pellegrini's Chinese appointment mean for football?

Wednesday 31st August 2016
Manuel Pellegrini was unarguably successful during his time at Manchester City, winning three trophies including the Premier League during his stint with the Citizens. It's, therefore, unusual that he'd make the jump as so many players have, to the Chinese Super League, when he could probably hand-picked any job in Europe when it became available.

The Chilean becomes the highest profile ex-Premier League manager to join a Chinese club, yet is not the first to do so with the like of Scolari, Eriksson and Magath. All of which now work for Chinese Super League clubs, yet none of which reached the heights like Pellegrini did with Manchester City.

He joins Hebei China Fortune, who were performing above expectations before he joined the team. The club is home to several high-profile names already like: Gervinho, Lavezzi and Mbia who Pellegrini will no doubt sculpt his plans around for the team going forward. The combination of these players and this world class manager will have fans excited for the future as the seasons ahead look bright with Manuel Pellegrini at the helm.

The world of football was seemingly outraged when Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would be coming in as their new manager at the start if this season, without terminating Pellegrini's contract. As if it wasn't bad enough, the City group made the decision public in the midst of the 15/16 season. An awkward state of affairs when the South American manager went on to win the League Cup and reach the semi-final of the Champions League. Pep might have been available; yet did a successful manager of this calibre deserve this treatment just to secure the services of another manager, who is unproven in the Premier League? Either way, Pellegrini left the club and was unemployed come the start of the new Premier League season.

Despite his age, Pellegrini could be in the prime of his managerial career having won three titles including one Premier League title in just two years. His move to China is the first of managers, to be considered surprising, yet his move has gone relatively unscathed. Players in similar standing, such as Alex Teixeira who choose China over Europe become the victims of social media witch-hunts; claiming they are “ruining football” when the truth couldn't be further from the truth. China's large transfer fee negates any detrimental effects on European football, by funding it. Let's face it, Shanghai SIPG overpaid massively for Hulk. Zenit St. Petersburg will now be able to re-invest that £50m+ into the club and drive Russian football forward at the expense of one player who is the wrong side of thirty. The same concept applies to any player transfer from Europe to China.
Although managerial appointments do not come with the glorious price tags that the playing staff do, meaning that there's no beneficiary other than the body acquiring the manager. Pellegrini is the first of such stature in such good current form, to move to China. Whilst fantastic for the Super League, Europe has failed to retain the services of a world class manager and there's no trade-off to negate the loss.

Pellegrini's pioneering move to China could well shape the future of managerial counterparts. The level of management in the league has certainly skyrocketed with his appointment alone. Time will tell whether others of this calibre will follow suit; and how long he'll stay in China. The appointment goes further to legitimise the league in the eyes of football fans everywhere.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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