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The Heated Kang League: An Update On CSL Signings - Wild East Football
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Chinese Super League

The Heated Kang League: An Update On CSL Signings

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)

This highly prized youngster

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.


 Zhang Yuan (Chengdu Blades to Guangzhou Fuli)

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.


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.



  1. Bobby

    04/01/2012 at 09:36

    Mao is the Michael Owen of China’s , both once were very promising player, both have lighting pace and a deadly addition(gamble and alcohol),both played for their first team’s biggest rival apporaching the end of their career.

    I do believe he will score against Shenhua at Hongkou,(as he did it with two teams in the last two seansons) but consider Shenhua won both of these two games , I dont think its something to be worry about.

    Good luck with Mao,Beijing People.

    • bcheng

      04/01/2012 at 11:03

      Haha, I think that’s stretching the analogy, Mao showed promise, but it was almost all unrealized, whereas Owen had a few seasons of domination. I’d also think Mao is far from the end of his career at 25, he still has a lot of potential.

      That said, I agree that he seems to relish playing against Shenhua and I’d expect him to get a goal or two against them this coming season.

      • Bobby

        04/01/2012 at 11:39

        Yes, I agree it’s a little bit weird to say a 25-year old player is “apporaching the end of his career” but what I trying to say is the guy can only play 45 mins of decent football back in his later days in shenhua,and judging from his days at Shanxi and Hangzhou,I dont think he has improved a lot.

        In a word,If you expect him to run like Joel Griffiths , there’s a great possibility that you will be very dissapointed,But if you only expect him to do well against Shenhua both home and away,then I think It’s money well spent.

        Also, I have to admit,I am a bit bitter about Mao,since when he first starting out ,he was regarded as the New Fan Zhiyi,The Great Hope of Shanghai Football,but now,he has played for three of Shenhua’s most bitter rivals,(Since Shanxi Chanba uesed to be Inter Shanghai),It’s really a incridble story only a rebel like Mao can produce.

        • Waccap

          04/01/2012 at 19:26

          I rated him when he was at Shanghai and was disappointed to see him leave. A good talent but perhaps disruptive in the dressing room?

          • Damian Jones

            04/01/2012 at 19:29

            On another note: Anelka and Griffiths up front with no-one to supply them.

          • Bobby

            06/01/2012 at 14:19

            No worries,Shenhua have the best midfield in the CSL.The proof is Shenhua beat Beijing at home with no striker up front,and play with only one striker for half of the season.

            Finally,we have someone to score goals!

          • WEF Editor

            09/01/2012 at 05:47

            Yes, Cao Yunding and Yu Tao are solid, Jiang Kun is a trooper but I wonder if its time to replace him. If Shenhua can buy a commanding centre back, we are in with a good shot of the title.

    • Yiddo Huayi

      04/01/2012 at 19:36

      “Mao is the Michael Owen of China”

      So he’s an overpaid, injury prone midget, who’s only in it for the money?

  2. walker

    12/01/2012 at 14:54

    i hope some day guoan can win the champion again~

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