Mao Jianqing (Shaanxi Chanba to Beijing Guoan)
Beijing Guoan started its winter training in Beijing this week and among the players, there was a new face in green as new signing Mao Jianqing reported to camp. Mao burst on the scene in 2006 playing for his hometown club, Shanghai Shenhua, and impressed enough to earn a place on the national team. The next year at the Asian Cup, Mao was one of the few bright lights on the Chinese side, with a unique blend of speed, smarts, and toughness, he was sure to be a future star. However, much like Yan Song, China’s breakout star at the Asian Cup four years earlier, Mao quickly faded away and after an early morning incident in a Shanghai restaurant, he was given his walking papers and moved on to Shaanxi Chanba.
Mao will have big shoes to fill, he’s never been a scoring winger, but he’s likely to replace Walter Martinez and his 10 goals on Guoan’s left wing. He’s still only 25 years old and should be entering the prime of his career, hopefully another change of scenery will see him return to the bright days of his youth.
Joel Griffiths (Beijing Guoan to Shanghai Shenhua)
There was speculation regarding this move for over a month, but Shenhua was busy flirting with Didier Drogba. That appears to be over, but the club has signed a strike partner for French star Nicolas Anelka, choosing former Guoan stud Joel Griffiths to fulfill their Asian player allocation. It appears Guoan was still in the running to sign the Aussie right up until a few days ago when in the end he decided to take the money and sign a one year deal with Shenhua for around $1 million.
He and Anelka are both seen as temperamental players, so it will be interesting to see how the two can get along on the pitch, though Griffiths is saying all the right things so far. At 32, he’s nearing the end of his career, but he’s come close to double digit goal tallies during his 3 years with Guoan, including scoring 10 this past season， his best in Beijing. It will be tough seeing him in Shanghai blue next year, but although it will mean major changes for the capital side having lost three of its foreigners, it’s an acceptable loss.
This highly prized youngster was one of the first major transfer purchases for newly promoted Fuli. The Beijing native was pursued by a number of clubs, including his hometown side, Henan Construction, and Jiangsu Sainty, but in the end it was Fuli who won the day. Fuli, who recently lost out to local rival Evergrande for the signing of Zhang’s teammate Li Jianbin, are now off on the right foot after this signing and their signing a few days ago of national team defender Zhao Peng, getting him from Henan Construction. For Zhang Yuan, he has to be excited about the move to the southern up and comers and at 23, he has a lot to offer, though he only scored a single goal last year.
News & Notes
- Deng Zhuoxiang spent the 2009 season with Jiangsu and it looks like the young national team star is headed back in that direction as Shandong is willing to let the youngster go and now all that needs to be worked out is the price.
- Baba Diawara, currently with Maritimo in Portugal’s top flight, has been recruited by Jaime Pacheco to come to Guoan. Beijing’s offering around $4 million for the 23 year old from Senegal, who has performed impressively in Portugal and currently has 9 goals in 13 matches this year.
- Changchun Yatai is doing everything they can to hold on to Zhang Wenzhao, despite massive interest from Evergrande. The club is refusing to sell their star, but perhaps the lure of Guangzhou’s money will be too much in the end.
- The saga of Yang Zhi’s potential transfer continues on, though made all the more problematic after he injured himself during a friendly tournament between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Fuli is still offering a massive deal for the keeper, while Guoan is willing to give him a raise and Beijing residency.