Guangzhou Evergrande will shortly conclude the signing of Santos midfielder Renê Junior, according to respected Sky Italia correspondent Gianluca Di Marzio.
The defensive midfielder, 24, was an important player for Ponte Preta in 2012 and showed initial promise upon arriving at Santos at the start of the year.
However, due to a combination of small injury concerns and poor form, he has found himself outside of the club’s first choice eleven in the second half of the year.
A powerful presence at the base of the midfield, Rene Junior is known for his tackling prowess and his distribution skills. With Zheng Zhi now well into his 30s, it is an area that has been identified for strengthening this coming window.
Assuming that a replacement for Conca as the team’s creative hub will join over the course of the winter, with speculation also centred around the Brazilian market, it is likely that Rene Junior would be used in a bit-part role—with foreign player rules limiting participation.
Any signing, though, would raise further questions over the future of China international Qin Sheng, whose disappointing first half of 2013 has seen him drop completely out of the reckoning for club and country.
With the club reportedly hoping to integrate more young players into regular first-team action, it is not only Qin of the club’s higher profile reserves who may be looking for a new home next season.