Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger expects India to become the next big destination for players after China.
The Chinese Super League has been on an active signing spree of top players. Unlike other lesser-known leagues, China has had immense success largely because they have been throwing huge sums of money at the players. Oscar is one of the latest players to join Shanghai SIPG, and he is on a contract worth around £ 20 million per season. India, though, has tried growing football at a much more pace. Even the football has existed in India for several decades, it has never been as popular as cricket.
Now, though, India is trying to change the popularity stakes by introducing football to the 1 billion population through stars from the Bollywood and cricket. It has had a positive impact with the Indian Super League in its second season and already significantly popular than the first. The latest campaign concluded with top European players like Florent Malouda making a major impact.
Since leaving Chelsea, Malouda has been on a nomadic journey and has played for several clubs like Trabzonspor and Metz. Wenger says that players like Malouda move into the Indian Super League will only help improve the profile of the league and attract even better players in the coming years.
“It demands years of culture and work. You do not create a top league just like that, but personally I am very happy and I expect India to come to the game, and hope it will happen.China has moved forward, tries to promote football and I’m happy that football is becoming very popular in China. But I still think most of the big players will stay in Europe at the moment.Professional football was created in England 150 years ago and we still struggle,” said Wenger.