Repeat league champions Guangzhou Evergrande have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, but they started 2013 with a bang, signing Zeng Cheng, Zhao Peng, and Yi Teng. The moves go a long way to strengthen Evergrande’s problem area, defense.
Zeng and Zhao join the southern giants from relegated Henan Construction and both have considerable experience with the Chinese national team. Yi joins from Shenzhen Ruby, though he has previous experience with France’s FC Metz.
Zeng joined Evergrande on a free and is likely the player who will make the biggest impact out of the three. He has regularly served as China’s first choice keeper since Yang Zhi was injured in late 2011. The club’s other options in net have often been inconsistent and Evergrande have long been on the lookout for a star keeper.
His teammate, Zhao, joins after 10 years in Zhengzhou, where he developed into a solid central defender. He made his national team debut in 2009 and has been a regular since then. Though Zhao was also chased after by crosstown rivals R&F among others, the RMB20 million fee Evergrande paid seems a little high for a player months short of 30.
On the other hand, Yi Teng, a tall 22 year old defender, is a pickup for the future. He spent four years with FC Metz, before returning back to China in 2011 with Shenzhen. He has limited CSL experience, but the upside is definitely there. However one wonders how much time he’ll get on the pitch considering Evergrande’s depth at defense.