Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink has admitted that he was approached by clubs in the Chinese Super League before he took temporary charge of the West London club.
The 69-year-old was brought in in December when the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, decided to sack Jose Mourinho for the second time. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ had lead Chelsea to their worst start in a top-flight campaign since the 1960s when Abramovich decided that enough was enough.
Hiddink was brought in to Stamford Bridge to stabilise things for the second time in his managerial career. He also came in to relieve Luis Felipe Scolari of his duties in February 2009, leading the current defending Premier League champions to the FA Cup that year.
Hiddink admitted that he had been offered a chance to head to the lucrative market in China before he got the phone call from Chelsea’s Russian owner in December. He said, “I had some possibilities to go there in the recent past”. China is throwing a lot of money at the game at the moment, with the West London club selling Ramires to Jiangsu Suning in January for £25 million.
Jackson Martinez, the Colombian striker, signed for Guangzhou Evergrande for £31 million in the same month and Liverpool target Alex Teixeira left Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk to join Ramires at Jiangsu Suning for £38.4 million. Former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu manages Jiangsu Suning, whilst former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson and the previously mentioned Brazilian Scolari are also plying their trade in China.
£175 million was spent in the Chinese transfer window, more than was spent by club’s in the Premier League. Hiddink never seriously considered heading to China, however, believing that it is the global appeal of the English domestic league that makes it such a special place to work.
Hiddink said, “When you travel around the world, the Premier League is so attractive, attracting a lot of people. In the biggest cities to the smallest villages, wherever in the world there is a satellite showing Premier League. Clubs in England cannot complain about having no income in the near future [because of the new broadcast deal]”.