Is Aaron Mooy getting the most out of his career in the Chinese Super League?

Few players over the course of a promotion season to the Premier League have been as influential as Australia’s Aaron Mooy. The 30-year-old played an integral role in Huddersfield Town’s triumphant 2016/2017 campaign that culminated with promotion to the Premier League following a dramatic shootout against Reading under the Wembley arch. 

Mooy played in almost all of the Terriers’ games that season as he racked up 45 appearances in their league campaign, whilst impressively scoring four and assisting seven times. The Socceroos’ contribution was enough for the Huddersfield fans to vote him their Player of the Season and in June 2017, the midfielder made a permanent move to the club after Manchester City accepted a bid in the region of £10 million from Town. Crucially, City inserted a buy-back clause.

That said, it’s not difficult to understand why Mooy would have been short of game time at the Etihad Stadium given the star quality on show in east Manchester. 

But the fact that City took a punt on Mooy by signing him from their sister club Melbourne City, who it must be said, have been enjoying a run of unprecedented success and are at only 3/1 to repeat that by winning the 2022 Grand Final in A-League betting, speaks volumes about the 30-year-old’s abilities. Indeed, the world would soon see how at ease Mooy would be in the most demanding league in the world. 

Three consecutive seasons in the Premier League were to follow with Huddersfield and then Brighton after the West Yorkshire side were relegated in 2019. However, Mooy’s time on England’s south coast came to an abrupt end when Shanghai Port met the release clause in his contract in 2020, thought to be around only £4 million. 

Needless to say, it was a development that took many by surprise. Perhaps Brighton boss Graham Potter didn’t feel as if the Australian would fit into his plans going forward but it was all quite peculiar given that only seven months previously, the Seagulls had made Mooy’s move to the club permanent following a successful loan spell.

Or maybe, if one was being overly cynical, then the reason could be that the combative midfielder did indeed push for the move given the riches on offer from the Chinese Super Club. Mooy is believed to have doubled his wages when he put pen to paper on a deal that would see him remain in Shanghai until the summer of 2023.

By the time his contract concludes, however, the Australian will be 33 and realistically, with his most productive days certainly behind him. 

Without a shadow of any doubt, Mooy will be at his productive best now but instead of dictating play in the heart of a Premier League team’s midfield, he is 8,400 km away in China, with his talents seemingly going to waste. 

Perhaps some will think like that is not altogether fair but one can’t help feel as if the world of football is passing one of Australia’s most accomplished footballers by as he plies his trade in a league that is renowned more for its lucrative rewards than it is its prestige.