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Dejan Damjanovic joins Jiangsu Sainty

Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic will play in the 2014 Chinese Super League season after agreeing a move from FC Seoul to Jiangsu Sainty for a reported US$4 million.

Damjanovic, 32, was in the final year of his contract with the K League Classic outfit and has chosen to act upon previous comments that he would like to continue his career in China.

The tall forward was a key member of the Seoul side that pushed Guangzhou Evergrande so close in this year’s AFC Champions League final, scoring seven goals in the tournament to finish behind Dario Conca and Muriqui as the tournament’s third top scorer.

When questioned on his move, which will net him an annual salary of around $2 million, Damjanovic admitted that it was finance that played a major role in his thinking.

“I only had two choices, with my contract at Seoul coming to an end next summer—to renew or look for a new club,” he commented. “In the end I couldn’t agree on new terms and so the best choice was to join Jiangsu Sainty because they have offered me a good contract.

“Leaving now, Seoul can still get a transfer fee. I am very happy with the offer from Jiangsu and, thus, I have finally moved to the CSL. It was both unexpected but suitable for me. To me, it was almost inevitable that I would come to China. The wages in Korea cannot match those on offer in China and so, at the pinnacle of my career, I leave FC Seoul and will join Jiangsu.”

Damjanovic will now become a central piece in the new-look Jiangsu side that coach Gao Hongbo is looking to assemble, having disappointed in the final season of the Dragan Okuka era last campaign.

Talk has already turned to the club’s final foreigner space being used on a pacy forward option to partner the target man, with Cristian Danalache, Eleilson and former-Shandong midfielder Roda Antar already confirmed for the coming campaign.

Damjanovic is the club’s record signing and will be expected to take on a senior role in a side that includes relatively young national team standard players Sun Ke, Wu Xi, Liu Jianye, Ji Xiang and Zhou Yun.

The 1.87m striker will arrive in Nanjing on January 3 to complete medical checks before arriving once more to begin training on January 8.

Based in Guangzhou, Christopher covers Chinese football for a range of media outlets worldwide and is Wild East Football's lead editor for news content.   His work can regularly be seen on ESPN FC, Bleacher Report and Hupu amongst other media outlets, while he has interviewed a number of leading figures in Chinese football.

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