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Sainty’s Zhang ChunYi signs for Extremadura UD

Amongst all the odd transfer news of the last few weeks within the CSL, Spanish side Extremadura UD have bagged 20 year old Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Chunyi from Jiangsu Sainty.

Zhang signs on a three month deal with an option to extend for a further three months and leaves Sainty who finished the CSL season second, qualifying for their first-ever Asia Champions League campaign.

Extremadura UD, a club formed from the disbanding of CF Extremadura, were at one time managed by Rafael Benítez. CF had spent two seasons in La Liga before financial troubles ended their existence in 2010. UD were formed as the CF side folded and most recently have been improving their image globally after a successful first few years in Spain.
UD Extremadura’s official website broke the story earlier this month, ‘Zhang joined the staff to conduct a training program under the supervision of our professionals…a collaboration agreement which will promote the training of young players from China’.

The deal though is somewhat unusual, UD have a company in between them and China named JG Soccer who are a Beijing based collaboration between two gentlemen named Jesus Gonzalez and Javier Gata. Their mission according to their website is ‘a project based on the export of Spanish players and coaches to China and training young Chinese talents in Spain’.

As Zhang’s move illustrates, the arrangements are to be short term and more for international experience as the JG Soccer website explains, ‘The player in training must be used for purposes within the sports regime, except in official matches, and cover the player’s housing and meals’. The agency has been contacted by but as yet there has been no response on the deal between UD and Chinese football.

Additionally though this seems to be as much about global exposure as it does an exchange of talent, as UD’s website states that JG Soccer will transmit the values of Extremadura from its headquarters in Beijing. Thus far it seems to be working too with Jiangsu’s Zhangjiagang TV station covering the story, the video can be found here.

The move could be good step in youth development if it works out for Zhang Chunyi and will try to track the progress of this relatively unknown keeper in this unusual collaboration between the lower leagues of Spain and the youth of the CSL.

Pete is from Sheffield, England and came to China in 2008 initially living in Shenyang where he witnessed his first CSL game, Liaoning Whowin v Chengdu Blades. Pete is a fanatic Sheffield Wednesday fan but has picked up football allegiances from various trips, Galatasary in Turkey, Piacenza in Italy and Muangthong United in Thailand. In early 2009 he moved to Beijing and after a brief time started attending Guoan games regularly. Pete graduated in Journalism in the UK and has written for several educational publications on Chinese education for his day job as well as Chinese football for WEF which he wishes was more developed but avidly follows the Imperial Guards on their quest for CSL supremacy regardless.



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