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Yu Dabao extends Aerbin contract, rejects Evergrande move

Just a few days after he had seemed certain to join Guangzhou Evergrande for a new Chinese domestic record of RMB 50 million but, in a surprise turn of events, Dalian Aerbin forward Yu Dabao has signed a new four-year deal with the Liaoning side.

Yu, 25, joined Aerbin from Tianjin TEDA in 2011 just a year after returning to China from Portuguese giants Benfica. It is widely reported that Evergrande’s attempt to sign the striker at that stage was thwarted by the wishes of his parents.

This time around, it had looked almost certain that the Cantonese side would finally get their wish and secure the capture of the regular China international. A fee had been agreed and Yu had spoken of his impending move, only to fly back to Dalian on Friday with a view to extending his contact.

According to a Guangzhou-based journalist for Titan Sports, the deal had broken down over Evergrande’s failure to meet the striker’s three contractual conditions: a guarantee of first-team status, parity with the club’s high earners and, finally, 10 percent of the transfer amount as a signing-on fee.

Yu’s contract with Aerbin had been due to expire next year and, with the club frequently rumoured to be suffering from financial issues in recent months, the chance to accept a large offer and offload his large wages had seemed a straightforward decision.

However, following Evergrande’s decision to reject the player’s demands, news quickly turned to Yu having renewed his deal with Aerbin until the end of the 2017 season.

While it is understandable that Yu would choose not to accept a role in Evergrande’s squad rotation setup, his decision to renew with a side that were seemingly cost-cutting has caused surprise and renewed speculation that the Wanda Group is looking to return to top-flight Chinese football through Aerbin.

In the eyes of many fans, as a leading Chinese player, Yu is too good to spend the next four years playing with the aim of avoiding relegation.

While China’s coaches would also not want to see him sat on the bench on a weekly basis, the hope must be that his new deal is a sign of renewed enthusiasm on behalf of the Dalian club, just 12 months on from their major transfer outlay to secure the capture of winger Yu Hanchao from Liaoning.

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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