Lucas Barrios was unveiled by Guangzhou Evergrande at a press conference yesterday. Barrios, the club’s new $10 million man, signed a four year contract with the club a few months ago but with the transfer window re-opening on Monday, June 18, the 27 year old South American finally made the trip to China.
The Paraguayan international was part of the Borussia Dortmund side that won the German league title this year, contributing four goals in 17 appearances. While last season was a bit of a personal drop, in his previous two seasons in Germany, Barrios scored an impressive 35 goals in 65 games. Unlike Nicolas Anelka, Barrios is still in the prime of his career and definitely not coming to China to retire. He is sure to be an exciting addition to Guangzhou, added firepower for the second half of the season much like Dario Conca was last season.
Guangzhou manager Marcello Lippi has come out and said he’s excited about the addition and looks forward to getting Barrios on the training pitch. The addition of Barrios means that Guangzhou now has six foreigners and to activate him on the roster when the window opens up, they will need to drop one of their three Brazilians or Conca (the other foreigner, Cho Won-Hee, is their Asian player). Smart money is on Cleo getting his walking papers, though it will be interesting to see what the club does, especially as other moves may be thwarted due to Cho’s injury, requiring the club to change Asian players.
However, if owner Xu Jiayin has his way, this won’t be an issue. The Southern club is once again pushing a proposal to change the number of foreigners. This is despite the current setup being the same or more than in Japan, Korea, and Australia. It is also the opposite of what Thailand is doing, their league currently allows for seven foreigners but is reducing it to the 3+1 that the Asian Champions League allows on the pitch.
Evergrande’s proposal was popular in committee, with 12 of 15 votes in favor of it. Yet Beijing Guoan and Shandong Luneng, two of the CSL clubs with the strongest record in youth development, are very much against the proposal and rallying support to defeat it in the next round of voting. They have Tianjin Teda and Qingdao Jonoon on their side. The next round of voting will include the CSL clubs, China League clubs, and many local FAs.