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China’s naturalization experiment and the battle of the giants: The Chinese Football Podcast s3e7

The pod rings in the new lunar year with a return to matters club football. We double down on the big news stories which have been developing during our recent focus on the Asian Cup – the first wave of naturalized players coming to the CSL, and the headline transfers of recent weeks.

We start with a quick summary of the overseas players being naturalized and joining Beijing Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande – how high are expectations for these players, do we see this as a club or country initiative, and what pitfalls might they face – is it a brave choice or a risky move, and does this mean the U23 rule has failed?

We then change tack to look at the headline transfer moves – after celebrating Guangzhou R&F fixing their leaky defence by signing Moussa Dembele, the pundits talk up the fortunes of a couple of strapping big lads joining the league in Marouane Fellaini and Kim Min-Jae. Will they live up to lofty expectations, and why are clubs going cold on signing big-name strikers this year? There’s also time to discuss Evergrande’s domestic transfers – smart football business, shady conspiracy theory, or a bit of both? As ever, we’re here to shine a light on the murky world of Chinese football rumours.

Host Steve Crooks is joined by Chinese football experts Cameron Wilson in Shanghai and Brandon Chemers on his travels (again) for this week’s episode.

Stream the cast using the player above, or download to your device.

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The Chinese Football Podcast is pleased to be sponsored by Football Shirt Memory – the number one CSL shirt retailer in the West. Check out their wares here.

We are also very pleased to be hosted and broadcast on Football Nation Radio.

Don’t miss the chance to get involved in the discussion on Twitter at #chinafootypod – we love hearing feedback and do our best to field your questions and suggested topics each and every week.

Steve hosts the Chinese Football Podcast, having joined the WEF team as correspondent for Shanghai Shenhua, the side he has followed since moving to Shanghai in 2010. Exiled from the Victorian town-centre idyll of Feethams along with his childhood football team, Steve spent many an (un)happy year on Hongkou's North Terrace along with the Shenhua Element Crew and Blue Devils before relocating to Sydney from where he continues to follow the Chinese game from afar.

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