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Evergrande unveils Barrios as they push proposal to add foreigners

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.

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.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Yiddo Huayi

    13/06/2012 at 07:34

    Does anyone know how much Hengda spend on youth or grass-roots development?

    I think that both foreign players and local development can exist side by side, but if it is just about winning trophies and big cheque books then Hengda can GGF.

    • bcheng

      13/06/2012 at 11:41

      Not really sure about this, they’ve put money into building a football school with Real Madrid, but the reality is that I’d bet big money that Evergrande is not involved in football in 10 years, honestly I’d be surprised if they are still sponsoring a team in 5 years, so this never-ending self interest is downright deplorable.

    • Damian Jones

      14/06/2012 at 14:09

      It’s a strange one, especially as (and correct me if i’m wrong) GZ Hengda have just opened the largest kids/youth training establishment in China.

      • bcheng

        14/06/2012 at 16:48

        as far as I know, that camp (built in connection with Real Madrid) has not been opened yet and is still in development. The club spends next to nothing on grassroots and the reality is that there is no chance in hell Evergrande will be involved in football in 10 years, I’d even be surprised if they still are in five. Xu Jiayin’s either going to end up in jail, bored, or abroad.

        • Creator

          15/06/2012 at 23:20

          “Xu Jiayin’s either going to end up in jail, bored, or abroad.”
          HAHAHA…
          Wow, care to be less pessimistic???
          Sure, chinese football has hit crisis level, but the optimistic of me felt that a new beginning is about to surface…
          Anyway, it’s ppl like Xu Jiayin that has been helping to revive chinese football for better or worse though the 7 foreign slots does not seem to be a nice idea…
          i would definitely give him and GZ a chance…

  2. Lord_Diablo

    13/06/2012 at 15:30

    If they change to 7 foreigners per team, does that mean all 7 of them can play on the pitch or is it gonna be the same 3+1 players on the field???
    What’s the point if u have so many foreign footballers and yet u have to put them at the bench???
    It just a waste of talents…

    • Yiddo Huayi

      14/06/2012 at 11:56

      But if they are getting squillions of RMB to sit on the bench they probably won’t mind.

      • bcheng

        14/06/2012 at 12:17

        All good points, but that’s even further likely to turn the league into a retirement home for former international superstars.

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