This year, Chinese Super League transfers haven’t been simple. There’s the drawn out chasing of Didier Drogba in Shanghai, the will he/won’t he situation with Yang Zhi in Beijing as well as the capital club’s signing of Brazilian/Aussie Leonardo, but the most complex of all transfers has been that of Deng Zhuoxiang going from Shandong Luneng to Jiangsu Sainty.
Deng had a breakout year for Jiangsu in 2009, a year that also saw him become a fixture for the Chinese national team. He won Chinese Super League Young Player of the Year and garnered interest from all the big boys, finally deciding on a big money move to Shandong Luneng. In his first year in Jinan, Deng showed why he was worth the money, serving as a crucial component of the team’s 2010 title success. This past season didn’t treat him so well, Deng suffered from multiple injuries and his performance was below par.
Jiangsu, fresh off a shock fourth place finish last year, believes that Deng is the missing piece that will put the team over the top. They targeted Deng for a return and Shandong was open to the idea, for the right price. The clubs, having begun discussions in early January, reached an agreement by the middle of the month, but when Deng flew to Nanjing for a physical, Sainty’s doctors said that his right leg was still severely injured and suggested a surgery and that he’d be out of the lineup for around half the season.
At the end of the month, Deng traveled to Beijing to meet with doctors and it appears that Jiangsu was satisfied with the reports (and the reduction in the player’s price) as they ultimately signed him to a four year deal. Deng’s still just 24 years old, if he can rediscover the magic of 2009 (and stay healthy), Jiangsu may have gotten a bargain that could really pay off if European teams start taking a look at him. He’ll have to produce in Nanjing first, but for someone who was once one of the national team’s most promising players (and who arguably still is), it shouldn’t be too hard.