Yesterday marked the end of the Chinese Super League transfer window until after the season and it brought a number of last minute signings. Beijing Guoan was one of the more active teams during the window, doing a good job in bringing in top domestic talent, but failing on the foreigner front,adding Kleber and getting rid of Erton Fejzullahu.
Brazilian Kleber joins the club from top Portuguese side Porto, where he spent most of his time on the bench or loaned out to other sides (including a spell on their B team). He’s had some decent enough seasons, with 80 appearances and 32 goals since the 2009/2010 season (those stats don’t include his spell back in Brazil with Palmeiras as well as his season with Porto’s lower side)., but nothing over the top impressive.
What makes it worse is the excitement fostered by media reports of the players Guoan was in talks with throughout the window including Franco Di Santo, Seydou Doumbia, Mario Gomez and Muriqui. In light of those names, Kleber, a relatively unknown and a season removed from playing in the Portuguese second division, isn’t a name that would blow any fan away. With Guoan having a serious shot at this year’s title, it was expected the club would come through with a purchase that would change the race, I can’t see Kleber doing that. This is made all the worse when watching Evergrande add Robinho and Shanghai SIPG adding Gyan (who scored in his debut last night), making both those sides stronger as we get into the final third of the season.
Is Kleber an upgrade over Erton? Erton came to Guoan without real stand out stats, similar to the Brazilian, with Kleber being slightly younger and a few hairs taller. Much like with Erton, Guoan waited for the very last minute to find him and there seems to be a degree of desperation in this move. If you aren’t going to blow me away with a signing, I’d prefer sticking with the devil I know, as this feels like change for change’s sake, but let’s see what Kleber can do on the pitch before totally writing him off.