East Asia China

Arsene Wenger: China will take years to build football culture

China won’t be able to build a football culture overnight just by spending big to buy overseas players, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger warned.

Recently, Brazilian international midfielder Oscar and former Manchester City and Juventus striker Carlos Tevez have joined Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua, respectively.

According to reports, Shanghai Shenhua has paid €84 million for Tevez, while their local rivals Shanghai SIPG paid €60 million for Oscar.

Other high-profile players such as Diego Costa and Dimitry Payet were also linked with big-money moves to China.

However, the 67-year-old manager believes it will take years before China can build a football culture to compete with England or the Europe.

“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 manager told British newspapers.

“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 French manager added.

Wenger had experience with Asian football before, guiding Nagoya Grampus to the Emperor’s Cup title back in 1995.