Final CSL Transfer Update – Part 1: Shenhua and Guo’an steal the spotlight as transfer window winds down
The Chinese transfer window closed on February 26th and, with all clubs just confirming their final 30-man squads for the upcoming campaign, the dust has settled on the priciest flurry of transfer activity in Chinese history. Here, we take a look at all the moves last season’s top eight have made since between our last update on February 15th and the deadline day. Check back tomorrow to see what the rest of the clubs have been up to.
In: – Aside from the massive signing of Jackson Martinez, it’s been a quiet transfer window for the Asian champions who didn’t make any late additions to their ranks.
Out: – Given their bloated squad, it’s traditional for Evergrande to ship a few players out on loan just before the deadline to make sure they get some playing time and this year is no exception. Midfielder Peng Xinli, who has only made two senior appearances during his four seasons with Evergrande, is returning for another year with Chongqing Lifan who also borrowed him last season. Meanwhile, young goalkeeper Liu Weiguo is off to provide cover for Liaoning Whowin just half a season after moving to Evergrande from Dalian Yifang.
Evergrande will also be lending a helping hand to League One side Wuhan Zall by leasing them the services of under-23 internationals Yang Chaosheng and Wang Rui for a year. Winger Yang was on loan at Liaoning last season where he managed four goals in fourteen starts, while midfielder Wang spent 2015 with the reserves. Of the two, Yang, who was briefly involved with the full national team set-up in December 2014, is likely to make more of an immediate impact in Hubei.
There is also a permanent exit in the shape of centre forward Dong Xuesheng who departs for Hebei CFFC to the reported tune of ¥30 million. The targetman moved to Guangzhou prior to the 2014 season and made an auspicious start by banging in five goals in the club’s first ten league games. Since then, though, he’s hardly had a sniff of the first team and Evergrande will feel delighted with that fee if it’s accurate.
In: – No more signings for Shanghai SIPG whose season started with a Champions League qualifier on February 9th. And that’s good news for Ivorian winger Jean Evrad Kouassi who is able to return to the first team squad as the club’s fifth foreigner after being dropped to the reserves last summer following the signing of Asamoah Gyan.
Out: – No more exits either as a very quiet winter comes to an end at the Shanghai Stadium.
In: – Luneng’s season started even earlier than Shanghai SIPG’s and so all of their business has already been done.
Out: – There have been a couple of departures, though, as the club finalised its squad for the upcoming season. The most notable of them is 23-year-old centre forward Chen Hao who has been unable to find a way into the first team squad. The under-23 international could barely get a game while on loan with the awful Shanghai Shenxin last season and so Luneng have done well to convince Henan Jianye to pay around ¥2 million for him.
Elsewhere, 21-year-old reserve goalkeeper Zhou Yuchen and 20-year-old centre-back Gao Zhunyi have both been sent to Hebei CFFC on loan.
In: – Guo’an found time to make one key signing before the window closed by bringing in Turkish international striker Burak Yilmaz to fill Dejan Damjanovic’s boots. It cost the capital city club €8 million to prise the 30-year-old away from Turkish giants Galatasaray for whom he scored 82 times in 141 appearances.
The former Trabzonspor forward has also scored nineteen times in 42 games for Turkey. The bad news for Guo’an is that Yilmuz will be unavailable for some mid-season matches should he be called into Turkey’s Euro 2016 squad.
Out: – The one significant departure is that of full back Li Yunqiu who exits for fierce rivals Shanghai Shenhua. The 25-year-old started ten league games last season, but he’s been allowed to depart for a fee purported to be in the region of ¥20 million.
There has also been a significant cull of reserves and marginalised squad members with many players being cut lose. Among them, the name of winger Wang Hao stands out as the most well known, but none of the releases will have any effect on Guo’an’s first team in 2016.
In: – Henan made four late additions to their team as they scrambled to compensate for some last minute losses, but they have still only submitted a Super League squad of 26 players while all other clubs have come up with the maximum of 30. Goalkeeper Wang Guoming has been picked up after being released by Shijiazhuang Ever Bright a few months back and, with last season’s regular starter Han Feng being dropped to the reserves, he will battle Wu Yan for the starting role.
As highlighted above, Jianye have also picked up young striker Chen Hao from Shandong Luneng. As his inclusion in the China under-23 squad for last summer’s Toulon Tournament shows, Chen is viewed as a player with plenty of potential, but he has yet to be given an opportunity to showcase it at senior level having been limited to five substitute appearances while on loan at Shanghai Shenxin last season.
The other two signings are unlikely to see much first team action with midfielder Mou Shantou arriving from a spell as a squad player for League One strugglers Shenzhen FC and 20-year-old Pan Jiajun being drafted in from Guangzhou R&F‘s reserves.
Out: – Henan have struggled to keep the squad which carried them up to the dizzy heights of fifth together, and one of their biggest losses will be Li Zhichao who acted as the midfield water carrier for a team which ground out several impressive results in 2015. The doughty 27-year-old moves to Jiangsu Suning for a fee of ¥15 million just a year after arriving from Beijing BG on a free transfer.
Elsewhere, right back Lv Jianjun departs for Shijiazhuang Ever Bright a season after moving from Changchun Yatai and attacker Lei Yongchi continues the pattern by moving on to Liaoning Whowin twelve months after joining Jianye. Lei failed to score in thirteen appearances since arriving from the now defunct Shenyang Zongze and he will return to the city now that Liaoning have confirmed they will play there. Seldom used centre back Lu Qiang will be joining Lei at the northeastern club.
In: – Shenhua’s conveyor belt of foreign signings continued as they picked up centre back Kim Kee-hee and striker Obafembi Martins not long after our last update. Kim, 26, played for Jeonbuk Hyuandai Motors in victorious efforts against both Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guo’an last season and also played alongside Guangzhou Evergrande’s Kim Young-gwon at the centre of South Korea’s defence during last summer’s East Asian Cup in Wuhan. Having won back-to-back K-League titles with Jeonbuk, Kim moved across the Yellow Sea for a reported fee of €5.4 million.
Kim will be joined at Hongkou by Obafembi Martins who moves from Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders for a fee of $3 million. The Nigerian striker, who is a well-weathered 31-years-old, has previously plied his trade with Inter Milan, Newcastle, Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan and Levante, but has gone through the most prolific spell of his career in the northeastern USA. He will likely be a back-up for Demba Ba, but a possible partnership with the Senegalese hitman would put the fear up a number of Super League defences.
Full back Li Yunqiu is also a new arrival having been purchased from Beijing Guo’an for a fee of ¥20 million. The move sees Li, who primarily plays on the right side of defence, return to Shanghai having previously played for Shenhua’s city rivals SIPG.
Out: – All of this means that the foreign quartet of Tim Cahill, Mohammed Sissoko, Avram Papadopolous and Paulo Henrique will be departing the club. Tim Cahill’s exit to Hangzhou Greentown, with Shenhua apparently having to pay the Australian international $4 million for breaking his contract, is the most high profile departure, but it is yet another off-season of foreign upheaval at Hongkou.
Shijiazhuang Ever Bright
In: – To fill their foreign quota, Shijiazhuang have made the underwhelming signing of Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio. The 24-year-old comes in on loan from Bragantino having seen a planned move to Thai club Ratchaburi fall through. The former under-20 international was once favouably compared to Didier Drogba, but years of poor scoring statistics during a journeyman career suggest a player who has been picked up on the fly and will do little more than provide back up to established powerhouse striker Jacob Mulenga.
The Hebei club have also picked up Lv Jianjun from Henan Jianye. The veteran spent just a year in Zhengzhou and will challenge Hu Wei for the starting right wing-back position.
Out: – Nobody else has departed Shijiazhuang since our last update.
In: – As the deadline approached Chongqing confirmed that winger Liu Weidong and midfielder Peng Xinli would return to the team after spending 2015 on loan in the southwestern metropolis. Liu has made a permanent move from Changchun Yatai after appearing nineteen times last season. Peng, meanwhile, returns for another year long loan from Guangzhou Evergrande and is likely to provide cover from the bench once again.
21-year-old goalkeeper Wang Min has also been brought in from League Two club Jiangxi Liansheng, but he’s unlikely to get anywhere near the first team this year.
Out: – The only other departure has been that of right back Shi Zhe who makes a permanent move to Qingdao Huanghai having been loaned to the League One club in 2015.
Author: Jamie McIlroy
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.