Changchun Yatai have signed former Guangzhou R&F attacking midfielder Rafael Coelho on a free transfer. The 26-year-old Brazilian spent two years at Yuexiushan and scored a total of 25 goals in 54 games for the Cantonese side.
Under Sergio Farias he had been mainly used as a winger but Sven-Goran Eriksson preferred to play Coelho as an attacking midfielder in support of striker Yakubu. The partnership between the two was crucial to R&F’s excellent mid-season results last year but Coelho suffered a dip in form towards the end of the season and his contract was not renewed.
Changchun, who narrowly escaped relegation last year, lost left winger Zhang Wenzhao to Shandong Luneng and it’s expected that Coelho will be his replacement. The north-easterners now have four foreign players with Coelho joining Anzur Ismailov, Eninho and Jan Rezek although there are doubts over the latter’s future as the club have stated that they want to add two more foreigners.
Coelho will join up with the Changchun squad at their pre-season camp in Cyprus whilst his old Guangzhou R&F teammates are currently in Turkey. Of their five foreign players from last season the Cantonese side have only retained midfielder Davi but have since added two South Koreans; first defender Jang Hyun-Soo and later signing midfielder Park Jong-Woo. Eriksson has also moved to bolster his backroom staff by adding ’s own Mads Davidsen as a coach and analyst.
On their return from Turkey, Guangzhou R&F will compete in a mini-tournament in Shenzhen hosted by China League One side Shenzhen Ruby and also featuring Liaoning Whowin from the CSL and Swedish side AIK Solna.