Trent Sainsbury’s loan deal to Inter Milan sees him possibly become the ninth Australian to play in the Serie A, joining Frank Farina, Paul Okon, Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella, John Aloisi, Zeljko Kalac, Josh Brillante and James Troisi. Hopefully he manages to make more appearances than Troisi(6) and Brilliante (3 2 with Fiorentina and 1 with Empoli). Of course Chris Ikonomides is currently on the books of Serie A club Lazio, but is on loan in Serie B. Another young Australian 18 year old Reno Piscopo was at Inter Milan where he had played in their youth team and also captained the Italian under 15 team, but on the transfer deadline he moved to another Serie A side Torino.
There are many who believe that Sainsbury is simply a pawn in the owners of both clubs financial dealings, but let us hope otherwise. Let us hope that he is given a chance and that he seizes it.
Jiangsu Suning owners are the giant retail company Suning Holding Group, who in June last year purchased a 68.85 per cent majority share holding in Inter Milan, thus becoming the first Chinese owners of a club in Serie A.
Sainsbury made 28 appearances for Dutch club PEC Zwolle before moving to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning. This was reported to be one of the biggest financial transfers by an Australian player.
Where Sainsbury may be joining an exclusive club is he may be one of a very select group to head to China and then manage a move to a well-respected top flight club in Europe. Very few players have achieved such a move, and China has proved to be a great move financially but a career killer.
In the January transfer window apart from Sainsbury only two players moved from the Chinese Super League to top European clubs. Argentinean Paolo Batalia moved from Beijing Guoan to Turkish side Bursaspor and Hungarian Szabolcs Huszti from Changchun Yatai to Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.
Most of the foreign signings to the Chinese Super League return from whence they came. Brazilians return to Brazil and Italians to Italy. It is a rarely a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
The Chinese Super League has broken its own transfer records five times in the past year with Brazilian Oscar being bought for GBP60million by Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea. However this may all come to an end very soon as China’s State General Administration of Sports (SGAS) has warned that they will “regulate and restrain high-priced signings, and make reasonable restrictions on players’ high incomes.”
Hopefully Trent Sainsbury will make this an opportunity for personal success. Quality players manage to raise their level of their own game when playing amongst better players. Sainsbury will be training with some quality players and it is on the training paddock that he may well be able to show that he deserves to be at the club and is worthy of a run in the first team.