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Opinion: Should Changchun Yatai try to bring back Wang Dong?

Wang Dong

Changchun Yatai need to address many areas in the winter transfer window and bringing back Wang Dong could help.

Samvel Babayan’s task as the new manager of Changchun Yatai will be to secure a return to the Chinese Super League after the club failed to do this in their first season after relegation in 2018.

For Babayan to have a chance of achieving this, he will need to address a number of areas around the team in the upcoming winter transfer window.

The club have already been linked with Michael Sarpong and Adam Taggart, but there have been no rumours surrounding the club’s Chinese contingent they will likely sign in 2020.

One player that could be available, at the very least for a loan move, is a former club great and recent China League One champion, Wang Dong.

One area that struggled at times last season was the centre of midfield, with Zhang Li being the only truly reliable player there, with the likes of Li Guangwen, Li Xiaoming and Sun Jun rotating at various stages of the season.

While Changchun struggled with their midfield, Qingdao Huanghai benefitted from some excellent performances from the seemingly ageless 38-year-old Wang Dong.

Featuring in 29 of 30 league matches, playing 90 minutes in 28 of those appearances, Wang Dong scored an impressive 10 goals and was the provider for a further nine, some impressive numbers considering his preferred role as a defensive midfielder.

With his hometown club securing the title and his second loan spell set to end in just a few days, seeing the veteran midfielder return to Tianjin TEDA, a bid from Changchun Yatai could go a long way to helping the club in 2020.

Wang Dong, who won the 2007 Chinese Super League with Changchun and earned 30 caps for the Chinese national team during his spell in the northeast, has shown that he still has the legs to compete in the second tier.

Partnering him with Zhang Li would give the club some legitimate stability in the heart of midfield, sitting behind a sturdy attacking front that wasn’t a problem during the 2019 campaign.

Bringing back a club legend, potentially handing him the captain’s armband in the process, could be seen as a move to satisfy the fanbase, with his departure from the club in 2014 something that still bothers fans today.

Seeing Wang Dong wearing his familiar #6 shirt for the club once again would be a savvy move from Babayan, who will need to get fans on-side as early as possible before attempting to bring success back to the club on the pitch.

If Wang Dong isn’t approached by Qingdao Huanghai, it would leave a pathway open for his former club to make a bid to bring him back into the fold.

The club has recently begun hiring a number of former players to work behind the scenes, such as Zhang Xiaofei, Du Zhenyu and Jiang Pengxiang, and Wang Dong could be another player they could target as having the potential to work with the club after his playing days are over.

His goalscoring, leadership and defensive qualities make him a truly versatile player that would bring a lot to a club that he made 266 appearances for in his previous spell.

30 league and four cup games would take Wang Dong’s total appearances for Changchun up to 300 exactly, now wouldn’t that be a special way for the club legend to retire?

James Reeve is a British sports writer and correspondent for Wild East Football. James is an avid fan of Changchun Yatai, having been a season-ticket holder in 2015, and has been involved with Wild East Football for a number of years.

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