Shanghai Shenhua’s promising winger Feng Renliang is in Spain and will shortly begin trials with La Liga side Villareal , according to Chinese and Spanish media reports.
No specific transfer fee has been mentioned in the event of the trial being successful, but Sina Sports reported that Shenhua would be willing to let Feng go to Valencia for less than the amount the club could expect to receive for selling their star player to a domestic club.
The 23-year-old Tianjin native has been the subject of endless transfer speculation ever since he burst onto the scene at the start of last season. He’s been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, Guangzhou Evergrande, and an un-named Brazilian league club.
His second year at Shenhua was a disappointing one. He made 19 out of 30 possible league starts in 2011 and made a further seven appearances coming off the bench. He scored just one goal this year, albeit a spectacular one away to Qingdao, compared with last season’s haul of five. However he established himself in China’s national team this year, where his performances were one of the few highlights of an utterly disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign.
Feng would become the first Chinese player to feature in Spain’s La Liga should he be offered a deal at the end of his trial. The slower pace of Spanish football may well be a more suitable environment for Feng, and other Chinese players who are used to playing a slower-paced game through the heat and humidity of China’s summers.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015