Repeat league champions Guangzhou Evergrande have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, but they started 2013 with a bang, signing Zeng Cheng, Zhao Peng, and Yi Teng. The moves go a long way to strengthen Evergrande’s problem area, defense.
Zeng and Zhao join the southern giants from relegated Henan Construction and both have considerable experience with the Chinese national team. Yi joins from Shenzhen Ruby, though he has previous experience with France’s FC Metz.
Zeng joined Evergrande on a free and is likely the player who will make the biggest impact out of the three. He has regularly served as China’s first choice keeper since Yang Zhi was injured in late 2011. The club’s other options in net have often been inconsistent and Evergrande have long been on the lookout for a star keeper.
His teammate, Zhao, joins after 10 years in Zhengzhou, where he developed into a solid central defender. He made his national team debut in 2009 and has been a regular since then. Though Zhao was also chased after by crosstown rivals R&F among others, the RMB20 million fee Evergrande paid seems a little high for a player months short of 30.
On the other hand, Yi Teng, a tall 22 year old defender, is a pickup for the future. He spent four years with FC Metz, before returning back to China in 2011 with Shenzhen. He has limited CSL experience, but the upside is definitely there. However one wonders how much time he’ll get on the pitch considering Evergrande’s depth at defense.
WEF is greatly honoured to have aboard B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese bloggersphere.
Cheng has been the other lonely soul blogging in English about Chinese football over the last few years. With both Cheng and WEF’s editor linking back and forth to each others’ sites on a regular basis, it was probably inevitable that they would eventually join forces to try to illuminate and decipher the curious world of Chinese football, with their combined musings.
Cheng’s credentials are second to none – his blog focuses not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese bloggersphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. Cheng very generously decided to climb aboard and give WEF his views on the issue of the Chinese footballing day.