Wuhan Zall, newly promoted to the CSL after cruising to second place in the China League, have got off to an early start buying up players in the first few weeks of the off-season.
The team’s biggest purchase to date was their first foreigner, Guangzhou Evergrande’s star midfielder Cho Won-Hee. Cho was a regular with the Cantonese giants, playing every match in 2011 and almost every match in 2012 before suffering a bad injury in the club’s ACL match against FC Tokyo. The new Hubei club is rumored to have agreed to a US$1.5 million contract for the Korean international’s services, though the club denies his fees are that high.
Dalian’s merger was seen as an opportunity by Wuhan, buying up 27 year old Chinese international Zhu Ting. The striker has never plied his trade outside of Dalian since turning pro and has failed to impress the past few years, only scoring two goals this past season, though Jose Antonio Camacho has brought him back into the national team setup.
On top of these purchases, Wuhan has also bought youngster Liu Shangkun from Tianjian Songjiang and is interested in a number of other names. The club’s name often comes up in transfer rumors and they are said to be in the race for highly in demand names like Evergrande striker Cleo and Dalian defender Zhao Minjian. There is also talk that the club will try bringing in local talent that has since gone elsewhere since the break up of the local CSL club, including Beijing Guoan’s Zhang Xizhe.
The spending is not without reason, the club isn’t just looking to stay up in the CSL, they’re hoping for a top 10 finish in 2013, keeping with the trend of newly promoted teams giving strong performances in their first year in the top flight.