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Former Changchun Yatai players find new homes in Europe

Changchun Yatai

With Changchun Yatai dropping down into China League One, it’s unsurprising that a number of players moved on to new pastures.

The most notable, Odion Ighalo, moved to Shanghai Shenhua in February for a £5.3 million transfer fee, whereas some have taken somewhat longer to find a new club.

Danish forward Lasse Vibe joined Changchun in February 2018 for around £2 million but failed to impress during the club’s Chinese Super League campaign that ended in relegation.

The 32-year-old Danish international made just 11 league appearances for the North-Eastern club, registering a single goal.

Sun Jie being unveiled by his new club.

After such a disappointing showing in his solitary season in China, Vibe was allowed to leave the club on a free transfer.

Vibe had plenty to offer the recently relegated side, but the cost of retaining the flexible forward was clearly too much to see him stick around.

Capped 11 times by his country, Vibe has now joined IFK Göteborg in the Swedish Allsvenskan, a club whom he earned 31 goals in 56 league games between 2013 and 2015.

While Vibe’s departure isn’t likely to have concerned too many loyal fans, the fact that defender Sun Jie is not currently a part of the squad might have.

The 28-year-old centre back has spent his entire professional career with Changchun Yatai, first making his debut in 2010.

Sun had become a regular at the heart of defence, especially after the departures of the likes of Wang Wanpeng, forming a fairly decent partnership with Uzbekistan international Anzur Ismailov.

In nine seasons with Changchun, Sun Jie made 149 league appearances – all coming in the top tier of his home nation.

With the club falling into the second tier, Sun would’ve provided some excellent stability in the heart of the defence – but appeared to opt for a new experience, this time in Norway with Stabaek.

Sun’s move to Europe may only be temporary, with Sina Sports reporting that the veteran has joined on a loan deal, with Changchun paying a portion of his wages for the rest of the 2019 season.

If the club finds itself back in the Chinese top tier in 2020, Sun could return to the fold fresh from a new learning experience in the Norwegian
Eliteserien.

It is always interesting to see how players perform once they leave a club, but there will be a particular interest in how Sun Jie’s loan spell goes throughout 2019.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and the correspondent on Changchun Yatai for Wild East Football. James has followed the club since 2012, living in North-Eastern city between August 2013 and March 2018.

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