In under a week’s time, Dalian Aerbin has changed the Chinese Super League picture by signing Chen Tao and Yu Hanchao, two of the most talented domestic midfielders. Aerbin have very quickly turned themselves into a serious title contender in 2013
Yu, a Dalian native, has been with Liaoning Whowin for nine seasons. The past two seasons have seen him develop into a Chinese international and a real league star, leading him to regularly be talked about as a top transfer target. Rumors have his transfer fee anywhere from RMB30-40 million, no matter which it is, it far outpaces the previous domestic transfer record.
This, on the heels of the club spending RMB15 million to bring in Chen Tao from Tianjin Teda. Chen returns home to Liaoning province where he started his career with Shenyang Ginde. It’s been a very merry Christmas if you’re an Aerbin fan.
It’s been a wild offseason already in Dalian, with the CFA’s lack of a decision regarding Aerbin’s purchase of Shide mucking up the picture. Whatever the CFA eventually decides, Aerbin has worked to sign some of Shide’s top young talent, including Li Xuepeng and Zhao Honglv.
These signings, along with last season’s record setting RMB17 million signing of Yu Dabao, gives the northeastern side a strong base of young talent, with the majority of the players being under 25 years old (Chen’s the exception at 27). The club are likely to be favorites to compete with Evergrande for the league title, especially if they can make foreign signings like former Barcelona star Seydou Keita.
With the disappearance of Dalian Shide, eight time league winners, it is Aerbin who are carrying the torch for Dalian football. Despite Shide’s history of success, the last few years have been full of disappointment on the northeastern seaside. Aerbin’s new, young talent makes it look like the club could be putting together a new era of glory in Dalian.
Aerbin know about winning, rocketing into the CSL only two years after being formed. Last season despite a weak start, an early coaching change saw them get back on track and even contend for an Asian Champions League position, before falling off pace and finishing ninth. In 2013, they will certainly expect more.