After failing to secure promotion in their first season in China League One, Changchun Yatai will need to be ambitious when the transfer market opens.
Manager Svetozar Sapuric managed to turn the club’s fortunes around when he first arrived, seeing them go on a ten-game unbeaten run, but ultimately wasn’t able to get them over the finish line.
Sapuric inherited the majority of his team from Chen Jingang and only brought in Stefan Drazic during the summer transfer window.
The Serbian striker had just one goal and one assist in his 11 appearances for the North-Eastern club, often finding himself on the bench and limited to less than 45 minutes towards the end of the season.
Heading into the January transfer window, Changchun Yatai will need to be ambitious with the players they target, with fringe Chinese Super League players an ideal place to start.
One player, in particular, that would be very ambitious but could have a slight chance of working out, is former Changchun man He Chao.
He Chao left Changchun after they were relegated and joined Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande but has already found himself out of favour at the club.
While making plenty of appearances in both the Asian Champions League and the Chinese FA Cup, He Chao has made just 18 appearances in the league since moving to the Southern side.
Only ten of those games have actually come for Fabio Cannavaro’s side, with a loan move to Jiangsu Suning coming in the summer transfer window.
He Chao has made eight appearances for Jiangsu since moving on loan but has been left out of the squad entirely on four occasions, including the club’s 3-2 victory over Beijing Renhe this weekend.
His future at his parent club is tenuous at best, with his loan spell also not providing to have been overly successful either.
A return to Changchun could see him become an instant starter, giving him a chance to earn promotion with the club he started his career with.
While this may need to be a loan move, just so that Guangzhou can watch his progress and make the final decision on his future at a later date, seeing He Chao return to the club would be a huge moment.
A number of other fringe players in the top tier could be worth taking a gamble on, with Jin Taiyan still a player that could have a big impact in China League One on the right side of defence.
With just ten league appearances under his belt this season, the 30-year-old right-back should be eager to earn a regular starting role – something that he could have with Changchun Yatai.
If Sapuric hopes to guide the club back into the top tier, he will need to be ambitious with the players that he signs. If he retains the team he currently has but adds some quality additions, particularly Chinese players, then the club will be favourites for promotion once again.
No matter what happens between now and the start of the 2020 season, the club needs to make moves that will reinvigorate the fans and will bring belief back to the city.