General Manager of Beijing Guoan, Gao Chao has labeled the likelihood of current Chelsea legend Frank Lampard joining the Imperial Guards as ‘impossible’ amid claims from the British media that the England international could be making his way to China at the end of the season.
Tabloid The Sun The Daily Mail , and The Guardian among others have all suggested a massive 250,000 pounds a week contract could be offered by the former Chinese Super League champions Beijing or their big spending rivals, Shanghai Shenhua. However, in an interview with reporters yesterday, the General Manager of Guoan refuted the claims stating that no contact had been made with Lampard or anyone in relation to him and that the Beijing side has no aspirations to sign the player.
Shanghai Shenhua are yet to comment on the speculation but fans will no doubt tire of constant speculation following the arrivals of numerous big name stars into the CSL. Just a few weeks ago, speculation of Cristiano Ronaldo coming to China hit the news, England internationals Matthew Upson and Michael Owen were also linked with moves and in the future Chinese clubs will no doubt be linked with most big name players available.
Whilst some will see such links as a positive move for the promotion of Chinese football, whatever the figures involved, it is saddening that these links come at a time when there is actually some excellent developmental news in Chinese football as Guangzhou Evergrande joined with Real Madrid to start a soccer schools franchise.
At an event hosted by Evergrande chief Marcelo Lippi and supported by local sporting authorities, over 1,000 students attended as the Hengda Soccer School opened its doors. Messages from the likes of Ronaldo, Kaka and Iker Cassilas were shown in a positive move to improve grassroots football in China.
Links and speculation will still continue though and the strong Shanghai Shanhua link to Chelsea via Didier Drobga and Nicholas Anelka means this will not be the last we will see of China related transfer rumors but let’s not forget to long term goal of all of this, improving the sport in China.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015