Guangzhou Fuli are set to profit once more from their close relationship with city rivals Evergrande, with the impending signing of three domestic players in Jiang Ning (pictured), Wu Pingfeng and Li Jianhua.
All China internationals, the trio have fallen out of favour at the Tianhe Stadium over the past 12-months and were all informed last month that they would be free to leave the club this transfer window. Following the arrival of five new signings already this January, Evergrande are looking to trim a first-team squad that has expanded to contain forty players—many of whom are full internationals.
While Guangdong natives Wu Pingfeng and Li Jianhua have been linked to R&F for some time, with neither player planning to move from their home province so late in their careers, the higher profile capture of Jiang Ning would be a surprise.
The 26-year-old forward has made clear his intention to leave Evergrande in recent weeks, following a reported fall-out with manager Marcello Lippi. It had been thought, though, that a return to his native Shandong was on the cards, while Champions League entrants Jiangsu were also reported suitors.
It appears, though, that Jiang will be following his colleagues in moving across the city to the Yuexiushan Stadium in a move that will help cement R&F’s early status as major challengers for a continental place in 2013.
The three reported arrivals also follow that of 39-cap centre-back Zhang Yaokun from Dalian Shide on a free transfer, announced in late December
The relationship between the two Guangzhou clubs is far from the hostile rivalry often associated with neighbouring sides, with Evergrande owner Xu Jiayin and R&F owner Zhang Li long-time associates in the property development business.
It is not the first time that players have moved between the two sides in recent times, with R&F securing the signing of midfielder Li Yan in December after a season on loan. Former Evergrande icon Lu Lin also now turns out for the Blue Army, having spent a season at nearby Guangdong Sunray Cave before eventually landing at Yuexiushan.