Wu Lei: Vows to stay with Espanyol, and knows China need players to move abroad

Wu Lei has vowed to stay with Espanyol despite their relegation, which he stated while speaking to Chinese media


Wu Lei to stay in Barcelona, despite Espanyol fans being happy for him to leave

Wu Lei has stated that he is willing to stay with Espanyol for as long as they need him, and he is determined to play in the second division and help them try to win their promotion back to La Liga. Wu Lei is willing to stay, despite fans being happy enough for him to leave. In a survey that 25,000 supporters answered the majority of the replies said they would be fine if he left. 

Wu Lei has done quite well since joining Espanyol, despite my reservations that he wouldn't be able to fit in and perform. I have been proven wrong spectacularly, even if the clubs seasons ended with relegation, I think Wu Lei has done well enough to justify him being kept in their squad, despite what the fans think.  


Wu Lei knows that more Chinese players need to move abroad, for the national team to improve

Some of the things Wu Lei said made me realize he knows very well that more Chinese players should move abroad to gain valuable experience, especially in European leagues if they get the chance. 

I am not trying to knock the Chinese Super League, but there is definitely a correlation between how many players get experience playing in different leagues around the world and the national team performing. 

The reason for getting to play in Europe would be good for Chinese players is because of how competitive nearly every league is in on the continent. 

Look at countries like Jordan, one of their star players - Musa Al-Taamari - moved to APOEL in Cyprus, helped them win the league and was voted the most valuable player in the league. In late 2018, he was being linked with Cagliari and Fiorentina—but bigger clubs now have him on the radar, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Atalanta and Lille all taking a look this season, according to Bleacher Report sources. 

This kind of story about players from Asian nations moving to minor leagues should be shown as a case study to players in the Chinese Super League. That is because Wu Lei pointed out in his interview that Chinese players are only willing to move to Europe if it is to a team in the top 6 leagues. According to him, they are not willing to join a 'minor league' similar to what Cyprus is considered to be. 

Al-Taamari may or may not get a move to a big European club, but there is no doubt after getting player of the season that teams are having a look at him, and I have no doubt he will finally move onto a better league than the one in Cyprus. Until then, he remains a standout player in that league and there is no reason why Chinese players could not achieve the same success in a minor league then jump to a major one.

However, if Chinese players aren't willing to listen to Wu Lei, who is the best player of his current generation, then I doubt they will listen to anyone, but if they did listen to him Chinese football would improve greatly. It would improve for two reasons, more players from the national side would be playing higher-level football, and on top of that, Chinese players would get more exposure at home and abroad. 

If more did well abroad, more clubs would be willing to take a punt in the future, and at home, more successful Chinese footballers in Europe would increase the popularity of local football at home, encouraging more people to support them, play the game and just generally be involved in football. 

Wu Lei knows it is for the best. Chinese players should listen to Wu Lei.

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