According to reports on Chinese social media, Changchun Yatai have signed experienced defender Rao Weihui from Beijing Renhe.
Rao Weihui, who predominantly plays at left-back, has spent his entire career with Renhe, progressing through the club’s youth system before making his first-team debut in 2008.
Rao has been with the club since they were known as Shaanxi Chanba before becoming Guizhou Renhe and ultimately moving to the Chinese capital in 2016.
All in all, Rao has featured in 265 total games for the ‘other’ Beijing club, unable to help them avoid relegation from the top tier in 2019, missing half the season due to a leg fracture.
In China League One, the 31-year-old would be a valuable player for many teams and if reports from Weibo are to be believed, he has ended his 17-year association with Renhe to join promotion favourites Changchun Yatai.
The move is an interesting one from Changchun’s point of view, with the left back position now one of the deepest on the team, with Fan Xiaodong and Zhang Zijian, who was also signed this transfer window, capable of stepping into that role.
Replacing club legend Zhang Xiaofei was arguably one of the top priorities of the Changchun Yatai hierachy ahead of the 2020 season and now Samvel Babayan appears to have his pick of at least three options that could be the guy to fill the void.
Fan Xiaodong’s ability to play in the centre of midfield could see him play there more often under Babayan, who could have a strong midfield three that includes Zhang Li and Chen Po-Liang.
If that is the route the Uzbek manager opts to go, then bringing in Rao Weihui is a sensible move by the club and will provide them with a player that has plenty of experience in the top tier as well as four international caps to his name.
Rao is also capable of playing further up the pitch if required, providing the team with additional depth in midfield.
No official announcement has been made by the club yet, so it still remains to be seen how reliable the initial report, which came from sources close to Renhe, is.