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CSL Transfer Update – Part 1: Martinez Evergrande move stands out as domestic players stay put

It’s been a little over two weeks since our last transfer round-up and it is time to look at all the moves which have taken place between then and now. Things tend to slow down a bit over the Chinese New Year but there has still been plenty to talk about with Jackson Martinez’s move to Guangzhou Evergrande stealing the spotlight. This is a list of confirmed transfers which have taken place between January 27th and February 14th involving teams that finished in the top half of last year’s Super League. Part two, involving the rest of the clubs and some massive transfer fees, will be published tomorrow.

Guangzhou Evergrande

In: – After making a slow start in this year’s transfer window, the Super League champions made a massive splash when they picked up Colombian international striker Jackson Martinez for €42 million. Given that it was paid for a 29-year-old who has scored just three time in 22 appearances for Atletico Madrid this season, the fee raised eyebrows around the world and was, briefly, a Chinese transfer record until it was usurped by Jiangsu Suning’s €50 million signing of Alex Teixeira (included in tomorrow’s report).

However, while the price is no doubt dramatically inflated, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Martinez was one of the most highly coveted strikers in Europe last summer after a stunning season with Porto in which he scored 32 time in 42 appearances, including seven Champions League goals as the Portuguese club progressed to the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition. That prompted Atletico to hand over €35 million for the Colombian last July and, while Martinez certainly had a difficult half season in the Spanish capital, he could be a dominant force in China and the AFC Champions League if he can recapture the form he displayed with Porto.

New Evergrande signing Liu Dianzuo in Champions League action for R&F against Gamba Osaka

New Evergrande signing Liu Dianzuo in Champions League action for R&F against Gamba Osaka

Evergrande’s only other addition since our last update is the acquisition of goalkeeper Liu Dianzuo from city rivals R&F. The 25-year old spent just a single season at Yuexiushan after moving from Shanghai Shenxin the previous winter, but he failed to establish himself as a consistent starter in the blue and white part of Guangzhou.

Liu has been brought in to replace Li Shuai, who earlier moved to Shanghai Shenhua, as back-up to established number one Zeng Cheng. However, with Zeng’s 2015 being bookended by injures which saw him miss seven games near the beginning of the season and the entirety of December’s Club World Cup, the importance of a reliable back-up is obvious. Whether Liu can develop into a long term replacement for the 29-year-old Zeng is a different matter.

Out: – After making headlines last month by letting Elkeson move to title rivals Shanghai SIPG, things have been quiet on the departure front. The only exit we haven’t previously reported on being centre back Yi Teng‘s loan move to relegated club Beijing Renhe. It’s the 25-year-old’s third temporary departure since signing for Evergrande from Shenzhen FC three years ago.

Shanghai SIPG

In: – With their five foreign spots filled and the movement of top end domestic players slowing down this year thanks to inflated prices, SIPG’s only winter signing to date remains that of Elkeson. SIPG’s season is actually already under way as they defeated Thai club Muangthong United 3-0 last week to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions’ League, so we may not see them do much more before the transfer window closes in two weeks.

Out: – Not much is going on the other way either, with only goalkeeper Dong Jialin departing the club in recent weeks. The 22-year-old makes a less than glamorous move to the reserve team of newly promoted Yanbian Funde.

Shandong Luneng

In: – Luneng’s season started even earlier than SIPG’s with a 6-0 win over Indian club Mohun Bagan in a Champions League qualifying round on February 2nd followed by a trip to Australia which saw them grab an impressive 2-1 victory over Adelaide United and secure entry into the group stages of the continental competition for the third year in a row. All this means that the club has been inactive on the transfer front in recent weeks and may not do an awful lot more before the window closes.

Urso celebrates scoring a goal n his debut for Shandong back in 2014

Urso celebrates scoring a goal n his debut for Shandong back in 2014

Out: – Indeed, Luneng’s only move since our last update has been to confirm that midfielder Junior Urso will not represent them in 2016. The addition of centre back Gil meant that one of Luneng’s South American contingent would be on their way out and with Aloisio winning last season’s golden boot, a now fully fit Walter Montillo hitting top form and Jucilei qualifying as an Asian player thanks to a Palestinian passport, it was always going to be a toss-up between Urso and Diego Tardelli as to who got the boot.

Despite Tardelli underwhelming last season, the decision has been made to let Urso leave after two years in Jinan and the energetic box-to-box midfielder will spend 2016 on loan with Atletico Minero in his native Brazil.

Beijing Guo’an

In: – No new arrivals in the capital since our last report.

Out: – It seems that the club have let youngster Ba Dun move to newly promoted League One club Meizhou Kejia where he spent the second part of last season on loan. Otherwise, nobody else has exited Guo’an in recent weeks.

Henan Jianye

Osman Sow will swap Edinburgh for Zhengzhou after moving to Henan Jianye

Osman Sow will swap Edinburgh for Zhengzhou after moving to Henan Jianye

In: – After picking up Australian Ryan McGowan from Dundee United, Jianye have once again looked to Scotland by signing Swedish attacker Osman Sow for £1.5 million from Hearts. The 25-year-old was one of the stars of Hearts’ record breaking Scottish Championship win in 2015 and, with his contract set to expire in June, was reportedly attracting interest from local powerhouses Celtic and Rangers.

In the event, Henan have swept in to pick Sow up and bolster their attacking options. The buy seems like small potatoes in comparison to the eye-watering sums being paid for the likes of Jackson Martinez, but Hearts are apparently very happy with the figure.

Out: – McGowan’s arrival meant that the writing was on the wall for South Korean centre back Jung In-whan, and it has been confirmed that the 29-year-old is leaving Zhengzhou for FC Seoul. The former international made 29 league appearances for Henan last season.

Shanghai Shenhua

In: – Just a day after we published our last transfer round-up Shenhua confirmed the signing of Colombian international Fredy Guarin from Inter Milan. The 29-year-old departs the Italian giants with a fee somewhere in the vicinity of €11 million reported to have gone the other way.

The midfielder, who spent four years with Inter, has one over 50 caps for Colombia and, despite missing last year’s Copa America through injury, continues to be a regular in the national team’s squads. Guarin was part of the starting XI which was narrowly beaten by Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup and moved to Inter after three and a half seasons with Porto.

37-year-old Jiang Kun will continue playing next season with Qingdao Huanghai

37-year-old Jiang Kun will continue playing next season with Qingdao Huanghai

Out: – Guarin’s arrival means that at least one of Shenhua’s foreigners will have to depart and, while Mohamed Sissoko is the favourite to leave, nothing has been confirmed as of yet. One thing that has been settled, though, is that veteran Jiang Kun will not be with the club next season following the expiration of his contract.

The 37-year-old has long been a figure of fun thanks to his less than athletic appearance and, while it is no surprise that he has left the club, it is somewhat of a shock that another team has chosen to sign him. It is League One’s Qingdao Huanghai have opted to pick up the midfielder.

Shijiazhuang Ever Bright

In: – Shijiazhuang got a lot of business done early and, despite still having one foreign player slot free, haven’t made any moves over the last couple of weeks.

Out: – Same goes for exits as the Hebei club had an early clean out.

Chongqing Lifan

In: – Chongqing have signed Croatian centre back Goran Milovic who arrives from from hometown club Hadjuk Split for a fee of €400,000. The 27-year-old stands at 6′ 5” and recently won his first international cap when he came on against Russia in a friendly last November.

That has been Chongqing’s only recent signing, and it is worth noting that Brazilian Jael Ferreira remains with the club despite earlier reports that he had left. Whether or not the winger will still be in Chongqing at the end of the transfer window is a different matter but, at the moment, he is which means that Lifan’s foreign player quota is currently full.

Out: – Since we last reported on Chongqing, it has been confirmed that midfielder Cheng Mouyi and reserve full-back Lv Haidong are both leaving the club on free transfers. Cheng is going to Hangzhou Greentown, while Lv is making the switch to Shenzhen FC.

Veteran midfielder Wu Peng will also be leaving, although his destination has yet to be determined. The 33-year-old has been in Chongqing since 2009 and was a regular in their 2014 promotion season. However, he saw just four minutes of Super League action last season and, if he finds a new club, it is likely to be lower down the league pyramid.

Based in China for five years, Jamie has been exploring tiny little third tier Hubei cities without football teams or decent internet connections, but is now a regular at China League One side Wuhan Zall.

A keen football afficionado, he regularly takes in the Chinese Super League, enjoying matches in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Nanjing.

Jamie is also a keen observer of the fortunes of the Chinese National side.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. roque4

    16/02/2016 at 16:51

    .

  2. roque4

    16/02/2016 at 16:57

    Jamie I posted a comment about Budescu here two hours ago. You saw it?

    • Jamie McIlroy

      17/02/2016 at 08:44

      Hey. No, sorry, nothing’s come up.

      • roque4

        17/02/2016 at 14:15

        Thanks for the reply. I asked you if you will make a preview for China League One. I’m more interested in Dalian Aerbin. My Romanian Budescu just arrived there. He said that Aerbin wants to win promotion. True? He’s a very talented player, scored some great goals in the Romanian league, but he’s a bit lazy in some moments, maybe China will change him. Any chance to see him in action? Are the China League One games broadcasted? Or at least in some highlights after the games…

        • Jamie McIlroy

          18/02/2016 at 15:42

          Hi. Yeah, I’m planning on doing a League One preview this year, but the season doesn’t start until March 12th, so it will probably be in a couple of weeks. Last season, League One games weren’t broadcast nationally with the exception of Hebei CFFC’s games which could be seen on LETV’s website. I think that may be changing a little this year as there is more interest in League One and Chinese football in general so their may be more chance to see League One games online. I haven’t personally heard anything for sure yet, but if I do, I’ll let you know.

          Also, I’m not sure where you live, but you might have the chance to go and see him play live if you’re not too far away from a town with a League One team.

          • roque4

            18/02/2016 at 17:56

            Thanks Jamie. I will ask you for links when the league will start. I’m too far from China. I’m in my country, Romania :D.

          • Jamie McIlroy

            19/02/2016 at 12:19

            Haha, yeah, Romania may be a little too far. Check back in a couple of weeks.

          • Jamie McIlroy

            12/03/2016 at 08:43

            Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to do a League One preview yet, although I will get one out soon. But Dalian’s first game of the season is being broadcast on a Chinese website. http://sports.sina.com.cn/china/b/2016-03-11/doc-ifxqhmve9104318.shtml It’s the link that says 15:30 大连一方VS浙江毅腾. 15:30 on Saturday Chinese time. I guess it will stream abroad.

          • roque4

            12/03/2016 at 16:02

            Thanks a lot Jamie, but is only available in China. Now I try to find a good VPN for China, but I didn’t yet. Do you know one? http://www.vpngate.net/en/ I tried this, but has only a server for China and is bad.

          • Jamie McIlroy

            14/03/2016 at 23:20

            Sorry, can’t help you with a VPN. I tried to find a good one when I was out of China in the summer, but couldn’t if you figure out a way to do it, let me know

          • roque4

            16/03/2016 at 00:21

            Yes, if I will find one I will let you know. I tried with Hola, worked a little bit (30 seconds), but after that stopped. Impossible to watch the match.

  3. Flyingkiwi

    12/03/2016 at 12:55

    Is there any chance of someone posting up a bit of info about the third tier, like a schedule of games or something, at some point? The only thing I know about third tier football in China is that it is supposed to be split into a Northern and Southern conference. I don’t even know what teams it is (They are?) comprised of except that the Beijing Institute of Technology team should be one of them. Perhaps BIT’s relegation will allow me the opportunity of getting out and seeing a game or two. If it really is a lower standard that the second tier, it should be truly hilarious to watch.

    • Jamie McIlroy

      14/03/2016 at 23:27

      Not planning on putting anything out about League Two as it’s hard to get info. There is a wikipedia page with an accurate list of the teams and stadiums (as far as I know). Just search “2016 China League Two” They’ve expanded it to 20 teams this year, split into north/south division. Top four in each one goes into the playoffs. I have a feeling the season won’t start until April and you’re also probably right about how bad it is. Still, you might just catch the odd future CSL player if you’re lucky.

  4. Flyingkiwi

    18/03/2016 at 15:43

    A friend of mine has been trying to locate the first round draw for league two games but has come up with what looks like the first-round draw of the CFA cup and it very much appears as if that kicks off tomorrow (March 19th) but with the 1st round (At least) split over 2 weeks. Heilongjiang Lava Springs (The team I will be following from now on as Yiteng are no longer in Harbin…. Albeit with them being carpet-baggers from Anhui themselves) will begin their campaign on the 26th with a home game against Jingtie Locomotive from Tianjin. The game is set for a 2pm kick-off but not at the ICE Stadium (Which wikipedia suggests is their home ground) but rather at the Engineering University Stadium which is, apparently, on Hongqi Street.

    BIT play on 27th; an away game against someone that I don’t recognise (The quality of the screen-shot is not very good and it’s only in Chinese). I’ll ask another friend to translate it for me later. It seems like this is the first round proper and involves all 20 third-tier teams plus 12 qualifiers.

    • Jamie McIlroy

      18/03/2016 at 19:18

      BIT are playing Meixian Hakka who, based on last year, are one of League Two’s better sides. One of the “ties of the round”. The first round is being played over the next to weekends. Actually quite a smart move trying to take advantage of the fact there’s no CSL and get a little exposure. I seriously doubt there will be any live broadcasts or reliable info on the games, though.

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