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Yakubu arrives at R&F

After announcing that he had signed last week, Nigerian forward Yakubu Aiyegbeni has now reported for training with Guangzhou R&F at their Sanshui base.

The 29 year old becomes the latest African ex-Premiership striker to sign for a Super League club after Didier Drogba’s well publicised move to Shanghai Shenhua. He scored 17 goals for a relegated Blackburn Rovers side last season and over the course of his ten seasons in England bagged 96 goals in the Premier League.

However, this experience does not come cheap. Yakubu has the fourth highest salary among CSL players (read the full list here) and his reported $7.85 million pay packet dwarfs that of David who is the next highest paid R&F player at $2 million.

Yakubu will replace Brazilian forward Leonardo as the final foreign player allowed in the R&F squad and will offer a more physical attacking threat than that provided by Zhang Yuan at present. His signing should take some of the pressure off South American attacking midfielders David and Rafael Coelho by providing a stronger presence up-front to hold the ball up.

However, both David and Coelho have adapted well to Chinese football and given their defensive frailties R&F could have used the last foreign player spot to bring in a defender.

Donald began following Guangzhou R&F having moved to China in the same year that R&F moved to Guangzhou. The club's first foreign season ticket holder, Donald was able to watch three seasons at Yuexiushan before returning to the UK.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Damian Jones

    06/07/2012 at 13:19

    Hi Donald, i’m looking to get tickets for the Fuli v Shenhua game. Do you know of any ticket websites / places where I can get them? Cheers.

    • Donald

      06/07/2012 at 17:17

      You’ll be able to get one at the ground on the day. Don’t see R&F selling out all 55,000 seats anytime soon… If you walk past all the touts you’ll get to where the real tickets are, should be 30/50RMB.
      I think you can buy in advance if you want, something will get posted on the official R&F website

      • peter

        06/07/2012 at 22:39

        Hey Donald, its peter (we play football together, pink kit yeh)

        Anyways, im up in Beijing and atm and have seen the fixture, do you know anyone who could fix me up with a ticket for the Fuli away end?

        Thanks a lot
        Peter

        (nice reporting!)

        • bcheng

          07/07/2012 at 11:30

          My recommendation would be to hang around the west gate of Worker’s Stadium this afternoon, there are sure to be some Fuli supporters travelling on their own and that’s where the away supporters enter from. The only other option is to get a ticket from the touts (could be very expensive) and then head to the south stand, trying to convince them to let you in.

  2. Tom

    09/07/2012 at 13:00

    Good article by Reuters on the recent craze of big spending in the CSL:

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/chinese-super-league-spending-may-not-last-020306634–sow.html

    I have to agree with the comments by Lou Yichen on the sustainability of the current situation. If there was a change of heart/interest/priority from the Chairmen of BJ/GZ/SH or externally from officials or the economy, the CSL would be back to square one with little to show for it.

    Look at Rangers in the SPL as a great example of a Chairman living (well) beyond his means… There may be a period of ‘glory’ but ultimately it wont last. As alot of people have been saying on here and elsewhere, investing in building from the grassroots up should be a top priority. It might not yield instant results but what it will bring is a stronger foundation from which to build upon for decades to come.

    (keep up the great work WEF – always enjoy reading the site)

    Tom – Guangzhou

    • bcheng

      09/07/2012 at 14:58

      I just think the talk of sustainability is pointless, we’re only talking about two clubs who have really spent insane amounts of money, everyone else has remained pretty rational. It’s definitely not sustainable that these two clubs will keep spending this kind of money and I don’t think Guangzhou Evergrande will be around all that far down the line, but it doesn’t matter, someone else will buy the team.

      As for grassroots spending, some others who are writers for the site might disagree with me, but I don’t see it as an “either/or”. Yes, in the big sense every dollar spent on a Drogba is one that could have been spent on grassroots, but that’s not realistic. If Shenhua didn’t buy Drogba, they’d have spent half that money on a different foreigner, and the other half on buying domestic players. Grassroots only matters if your company intends on being involved in the sport in 10 years, which is why teams like Shandong and Beijing have such strong grassroots programs.

      • Tom

        10/07/2012 at 01:00

        I wouldn’t say it was pointless to consider the sustainability of the game in China but fair point on keeping things in perspective.

        It would be interesting to see how many clubs in CSL have existed for longer than 10 years (in one location) without going bust, getting bought or moving on. It can surely only be a handful. Its not exactly an ideal environment for clubs to establish fan bases, academies, identities etc.

        • bcheng

          10/07/2012 at 08:16

          Pointless is harsh, but what I mean is that 14 of the 16 clubs are not following an unsustainable path, so it doesn’t look like this issue is going to affect the sustainability of the league.

          Applying your 10 year benchmark, 11 of the teams (if you include Liaoning, who’ve changed sponsors, but management has generally remained the same) have remained unchanged. In a league with relegation and promotion, 11 out of 16 is a decent number. In Europe it would be unthinkable, but when looking at the “young” leagues in Asia and the MLS, its not that bad.

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