• Chinese football teams are primarily driven by President Xi Jinping, an avid fan of soccer.

Chinese football teams are primarily driven by President Xi Jinping, an avid fan of soccer. (Photo : Getty Images Sport)

The Chinese Super League became fifth biggest spender in the football global transfer market in 2016 with $451.3 million, surpassing France, according to an annual report from FIFA.

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The country is almost within striking distance of Spain's La Liga that spent $508.7 million and in Italy's Serie A that used up $508.5 million.
Expenditures by the Chinese Super League in player transfer went up almost three times from $168 million in 2015.

The spending spree by Chinese soccer teams helped the global player transfer market post a record $4.8 billion in 2016.

However, it's unclear whether the buying spree will continue after a new law was passed to cut the number of foreign players allowed per squad due to "irresponsible spending" by Chinese Super League teams. The new law could reduce spending or push up prices for a limited number of foreign players.

A representative of China's General Administration of Sport described the clubs behavior as "burning money" and "a grave phenomenon." He noted that the government body would fortify the "examination and supervision of clubs' financial affairs."

Currently, Oscar's transfer to Shanghai SIPG is the most expensive in the China Super League at 51 million pounds.

The transfer of fellow Brazilian Hulk also to Shanghai SIPG is second at 47.43 million pounds.

Jiangsu Suning's recruitment of another Brazilian, Alex Texeira, came in at third with 42.5 million pounds.

Jackson Martinez from Columbia broke the Brazilian stronghold of most expensive transfers when he came to Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, which is the fourth most expensive at 35.7 million pounds.

Last December, Jorge Mendes, an agent of Cristiano Ronaldo, revealed that a Chinese club approached Real Madrid to offer a 250 million pounds for the latter's transfer. Ronaldo was to receive an 85-million-pound annual salary in the deal.

Meanwhile, spending by English teams on international transfers reached $1.37 billion, which is way higher that the rest of the world. Teams from England also spent $440 million on domestic transfers, Deloitte reported.