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Guoan appoint manager Manzano, new signing

Xie Feng likely coached his first and last match as Beijing Guoan manager Saturday night as the club is expected to unveil Gregorio Manzano as its new manager in the next few days.

The Spaniard Manzano has never coached outside of Spain, where he has 30 years of experience managing at a number of different clubs, including multiple spells with Atletico Madrid and Mallorca, where he won his only trophy, a Copa Del Rey in 2003.

The new manager is rumored to have signed a one year contract with Beijing worth $1.5 million that would be automatically renewed if the club finishes in the top three of the CSL, reaches the final of the CFA Cup, or makes it into the final eight of the ACL. If any of these targets are reached, his salary would automatically reach $2 million. There is also said to be a clause that would cut his salary if the club loses three matches in a row.

Manzano shouldn’t put too much thought into his contract as the previous two seasons Guoan has fired managers months after extending their contracts. The capital club is hoping their third foreigner manager in three years will be the charm, but Manzano’s hands will be full with a locker room consisting of oft contrary veterans who have butted heads with previous managers. He also has little more than a week before the club’s first ACL match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on February 25th.

The club has brought in an additional reinforcement for Manzano, having signed Li Yunqiu from Shanghai East Asia for RMB7 million. The right footed back was an important part of East Asia’s back four last season starting in 26 matches and notching a goal and two assists. Li’s arrival in Beijing could signify the club has finally found a longterm replacement for 35 year old Zhou Ting.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Christopher Atkins

    17/02/2014 at 13:42

    Re: Li Yunqiu. I like the lad who was generally very competent for East Asia when I saw them last year. But, what does the move mean for Zhao Hejing? I thought he was being brought in to play right-back, albeit that he can play on either side. Solid moves from Guoan so far, albeit the centre-back positions still look weak to me.

    • bcheng

      17/02/2014 at 14:03

      I think Zhao was only meant as cover, to add to the side’s depth, whereas Li is a serious pickup meant to strengthen the side this year, but especially down the road.

      In the middle the club has a solid pairing for the time being and I think they don’t have much to worry about with Yu Yang and/or Lei Tenglong offering support. Down the road, I’d expect Darko to be out and the club would then use that foreign position to bring in a center back to pair with Lang.

      • Christopher Atkins

        17/02/2014 at 15:11

        Lei’s back from his loan? I honestly thought Matic out, centre-back in was the plan for this winter, but they’ve stuck with Darko for now.

        • bcheng

          17/02/2014 at 15:21

          Lei’s not back yet, but I don’t know how much longer he’ll be in Portugal and I think he’ll be a legit option in a year or two. It seems the club isn’t too worried about the center back position, all the talk was that with Ha coming in, Darko would be out, but even then, they’d be looking for another attacking player. Anyways, there’s still one open foreign spot left so it will be interesting to see what the new manager decides to do.

          • Christopher Atkins

            17/02/2014 at 18:23

            One open until Batalla supposedly signs within 24 hours. They want him in time for ACL groups, so I’d assume Matic will be the one to miss out there.

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