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Historic first for Chinese Club as Guangzhou Evergrande sign Diamanti

Guangzhou Evergrande have become the first Chinese club to sign a player on active international duty with a major European footballing power with the capture of Italian playmaker Alessandro Diamanti for 6.9m Euro from Bologna.

In what is another coup for the Chinese Super League, Evergrande have upped the ante on themselves, replacing the outgoing Dario Conca, twice Brazilian League player of the year, by signing a current Italy international in the shape of Diamanti who has 17 caps for his country.

The transfer was greeted with some derision in Europe, with many questioning Diamanti’s motives for joining the Asian champions to work underneath his legendary countryman, Italian world-cup winning coach Marcello Lippi.

However, according to Italian media reports, current Italy coach Cesare Prandelli assured Diamanti that moving to the CSL would not affect the 30-year-old’s chances of being called up to the Italian squad for the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

Evergrande chairman Xu Jiayin had previously stated that all signings must be under 30 years old, but told reporters that an exception could be made if the player was a current international from a country in the top 20 of FIFA’s world rankings.

According to Chinese media reports, the signing takes the Cantonese club’s total transfer fee spending to 40 million Euros since Evergrande took over the club in 2010.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.



  1. GZBiffo

    08/02/2014 at 19:43

    An interesting (if very detailed) statistical analysis of Diamanti’s contribution to Bologna can be read here:

    It would seem that he is used to being the team’s focal point, the player that almost everything creative goes through. Since he’s been bought as Conca’s replacement, this seems positive, but whereas Conca was very much a team player, Diamanti at Bologna seems to have had a tendency to hog the ball and waste possession – a bit of a glory hunter. This might be something Lippi has to watch out for and clamp down on early on – don’t know much about the Bologna squad, but he has very capable attacking teammates at Evergrande.

  2. Damian Jones

    08/02/2014 at 19:48

    I’m a little underwhelmed by this signing. He may be a current Italian squad member but the guy is quit old, has plyed his trade at a weak Serie A team and couldn’t really cut the mustard at West Ham. However, a lot of people, with more knowledge than me, have said that he has improved with age.
    With regards to Evergrande’s spending spree, it isn’t really that much; especially when you consider the return in sponsorship deals, TV rights, merchandise sales, ticket sales (The club were raking it in during the ACL), etc. OK, you have the monthly wages/running costs but the club really does seem to be trying to sustain its growth in a responsible manner.
    Up North, Shandong have spent a fair whack recently, I would be interested to see the spend/return stats on this club if anyone actually has this info ???

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