In yet another blockbuster transfer for the Chinese Super League, Lucas Barrios has signed for Guangzhou Evergrande for a fee of 8.5 million euros from recently crowned Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.
Guangzhou announced the completion of the deal on their official website today, following a failed attempt to sign the 27-year-old Paraguay striker in time for the start of this season, as reported two months back.
No details have emerged as yet as to what kind of salary Barrios is on, however, Guangzhou are said to be paying Dario Conca in the region of $10 million a year. Barrios is likely to be on at least as much considering he has been a successful player in a top European league which has a large following in China – he is a player many Chinese football fans will have heard of.
The big question which remains now is which foreign player will have to leave in order to make way for Barrios – Chinese Super League clubs are allowed a maximum of 5 foreign players, one of whom must be from an ACL country, in the squad at once. Presuming Barrios arrives in the Chinese Super League summer transfer window, either midfielder Dario Conca, defender Paulo, or strikers Muriqui or Cleo will have to leave to make way for him. Guangzhou’s other foreign player is South Korean Cho Won-Hee who won’t be affected on account of him being from an ACL country.
The smart money is on Cleo leaving, speculation over his Guangzhou future has been mounting since he endured an injury-ravaged campaign last year. He may even end up joining another Chinese Super League club.
The magnitude of this latest transfer is up there with Conca and Anelka and continues the trend of big-name players coming to the Chinese Super League in their prime. In some ways, Barrios is the most significant signing yet – he’s over five years younger than Anelka, and a bigger name than Conca.
In terms of the Chinese Super League title race, Guangzhou are doing exactly the same as they did last year and the year before in the China League – making a blockbuster signing mid-season whilst on top of the table.
The knock-on effect on other clubs’ transfer policies will be interesting – will Shenhua continue their game of one-upmanship with Evergrande in the transfer market and sign Drogba? Or will other clubs get involved in the big-name signings game?
It’s going to be an interesting summer transfer window to say the least.