Shandong Luneng have announced that a US$11 million deal has been struck with Santos for Argentine playmaker Walter Montillo, with the player set to arrive in China over the New Year period.
Montillo, 29, will sign a €5 million-a-year contract with the Jinan-based side, having agreed terms pending medical examinations.
The Santos No. 10 has only been at the Vila Belmiro for one year, having spent three seasons with current Brasileirao champions Cruzeiro. It was there that he was included in the Brasileirao Team of the Season in both 2010 and 2011.
The capture of Montillo represents another major coup for a Shandong side that have reinforced heavily over the off-season.
The Argentine joins Vagner Love, Ryan McGowan and former-Sao Paulo forward Aloisio at the club, while China internationals Wang Dalei, Dai Lin and Zhang Wenzhao have also arrived.
The club will this season be managed by 2013 Copa Libertadores winning manager Cuca, who has also joined over the winter from Atletico Mineiro. Cuca and Montillo briefly worked together in 2011, when both at Cruzeiro.
For fans of Chinese football across the country, the hope will be that Luneng can present a real challenge to a Guangzhou Evergrande side that have won the Chinese Super League side three seasons in succession.
Shandong’s investment could yet continue, with the club having one foreign transfer and two domestic transfers remaining of their allowance this window.
Having allowed long-serving defensive midfielder and former captain Roda Antar to join Jiangsu Sainty, defensive midfield would appear to be one of the club’s few remaining priorities ahead of the 20 February transfer deadline.