Changchun Yatai striker Odion Ighalo has urged West Ham United attacker Marko Arnautovic to follow in his footsteps and move to China.
Ighalo made the switch from Premier League Watford two years ago and feels that Arnautovic should do the same. The BBC reported last week that the Austrian had been the subject of a £35million bid from an unnamed Chinese club – thought to be Shanghai SIPG.
“I would say take the chance if you want to,” Ighalo told Sky Sports. “He has the final decision, but I would say he should take the chance.
“Shanghai is a good city. It’s just like London – it’s big, there’s a lot of foreigners there and they speak English. It’s one of the best cities in China. The culture and the life there is different, but when you are focused on playing football you won’t have any problems.”
It’s interesting to get the perspective of someone who has experienced swapping the Premier League for the Chinese Super League. Ighalo knows what he’s talking about and obviously feels that the switch was one worth making for him personally. Obviously it will be a bit of a culture shock potentially moving from London to Shanghai, but the money Arnautovic will be making will probably make things a little bit easier. For Ighalo it seems as if focussing on football takes away any potential issues. However, when you talk about focussing on football it merely emphasises the severe drop in quality from the English top flight to China. If Arnautovic were to focus on football he’d probably end up nodding off because he can win games in his sleep over there. Ultimately, though, what Ighalo is really saying is that the money and the lifestyle in China makes everything worth it. It’s very possible that Arnautovic will see it that way as well.