My Christmas wishlist from last year was almost completely filled, though it took until the summer transfer window to get two of my wishes. With everyone in the final throws of the Christmas shopping season, here are the “gifts” I’d like to see from Beijing Guoan.
Keep Yang Zhi
I’ve indoctrinated Mrs. BCheng enough now that she’s no longer a fan of Yang more than Guoan, so my desire to keep him is no longer personal, instead much as like I said last year, he’s the best keeper in China bar none and it’s going to be hard to find a replacement. Talk is that Guoan manager Jaime Pacheco is confident in Yang’s backups, but all due respect to the manager, how can he be? Yang played all 30 matches last season, the man’s made of iron, so much so that his two backups have combined to play 91 minutes in three seasons. Yang wants to go home and if he stays another season, he will undoubtedly not resign and move to Guangzhou on a free, but I think it’s best to keep him around in 2012 while preparing his next in line.
A Striker (or two)
This offseason Guoan saw two players who combined for 19 goals leave the club, this is not good. The only remaining strikers they have are all barely 20, this is not good. The club will most likely buy at least one foreign striker (if you believe some reports, they’ve already bought Marius Niculae). Last year there were reports the club was interested in Yang Xu, his name hasn’t come up this year yet, but I’d love to see him in green.
A Major Domestic Transfer Purchase
I’m not jealous of Shenhua getting Anelka, to be honest I don’t really care if Guoan continues buying no-name players if they’re able to perform when they get here. What I am jealous of is that it doesn’t appear that we’re seriously involved in the transfer market, there was a rumored offer for Yu Dabao (make this happen), though it now appears more likely Guoan is going after Mao Jianqing (meh!). Mao would fulfill the need for a striker and perhaps being in Beijing will help him, but I’d rather it be a more stable pickup. Rumors are that Guoan may be interested in Shaanxi defender Wan Houliang who would be a great purchase, but I’d still really like to see the club get an attacking player as well.
An Asian Star
Guoan already has Darko Matic and Francois Sene on paper, with the recent singing of Manu that’s three foreigners and if the rumors are true, Niculae makes four. That means they still have one foreign slot open for an Asian player and I think this is where Guoan can make a splash. Japanese, Korean, or Australian, I don’t care, but make it a worthy purchase, someone with star power and/or good Chinese Super League experience. This is a cheaper way to show the club intends to keep up with the big spenders.
That’s my list, let’s hope a Green Santa (and not the Grinch) brings me what I want. For the record, how did he do last year? Well, my wishes were very similar, and most of them were fulfilled: A Big Foreign Central Defender (check, Francois joined in the summer), Keep Yang Zhi (check), A Striker (check, first Roberto and then Keita, though both are gone now), Get & Keep National Team Midfielder (does Piao Cheng count? No? Well, that’s a no then, perhaps it will happen this winter?), A Veteran Presence (check, Xu stepped up and though it took a year, the news that Shao Jiayi is returning means Guoan will get a boost in this area). Overall, Santa did well for my last year, here’s hoping Gao Chao Claus (that so calls for a photoshopped picture) will outdue himself this year.