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Breaking News: Chen Tao Heading to the Serie A

Rumors have persisted for awhile about contact between newly promoted Serie A side Novara and Tianjin Teda star Chen Tao, but it always seemed unlikely.  Novara is far from a cash rich side and was offering a very low price for Chen, especially in light of the potential domestic offers Tianjin would get for him.  As late as yesterday, media sources like Sina were saying the sides were still talking, but doubted the likelihood of a deal being reached.

However, Tianjin TV is reporting via weibo that a deal has been reached between the two sides.  No date has been set as to when Chen will leave for Italy and as of yet the club has not announced the agreement, but it appears to be a done deal.  Tianjin brought Chen to the club permanently (after they picked him up on a loan from Shenhua in 2010) before the start of the 2011 season, paying a transfer fee of RMB6 million for him.  While it doesn’t seem like the club made a big profit by selling him to Novara, it appears the Italian club came close to matching that price.  Chen, desperate for the chance to finally go abroad, told Tianjin during negotiations that he would be willing to give up his 2011 salary if they’d let him go.

Chen was under contract with Tianjin for another two season (with the club having an option for a third).  Chen first burst on the scene during the 2005 Youth World Championship where he starred for China.  From then on, he was consistently rumored to be going abroad, with clubs in Italy, Holland, and even Russia interested in signing him, but a deal never materialized.  He was in the doldrums over having not gone abroad and having his club (at the time Ginde) leave his hometown of Shenyang for Changsha.  Angry with the club over the move and their failure to let him go, Chen sat out the 2008 season and finally was allowed to leave, going to Shanghai Shenhua in 2009, though he failed to impress.

As mentioned, he was loaned to Tianjin in 2010 and the  change of scenery helped him rediscover himself as a player, becoming an important member of the side and helping lead them to the CFA Cup this year.  While he was out of favor under former national team manager Gao Hongbo, his rejuvenation has also seen him become a regular starter for the national team under Camacho.

We’ll have more news on this deal as it becomes available.

News & Notes

  • More news from Tianjin, it looks like the club’s Romanian striker Marius Bilasco is headed to Energie Cottbus.
  • The Guoan-Mao Jianqing rumors continue, while I think the club is hoping for someone “better” (ie Yu Dabao), Mao is likely to be the club’s backup choice if Yu’s too pricey.
  • Phillipe Troussier is opening his mouth again, no wonder why he got our Douchebag of the Year, this time he’s saying Shenhua (who he has no relationship to) has a deal with Guti done and dusted, just waiting for it to be announced.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused 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 blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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