China League One club Sichuan Jiuniu have announced two import signings ahead of the 2020 season.
It’s still unclear when the second tier of Chinese football will get underway, but clubs are still working on building their squads with their transfer window not closing until five days before the season kicks off.
Sichuan Jiuniu, who finished eighth in China League Two in 2019, secured promotion thanks to the slew of club dissolutions from the second tier.
Entering China League One for the first time in the club’s history, the need for import players was evident, especially if they hope to stick around at that level beyond their debut season.
Which brings us to their two recent import signings.
Serbian defensive midfielder/centre-back Nemanja Vidic (not that one) was the first of the two to be announced.
The 30-year-old has spent the majority of his career playing in his home country, splitting time between the top two tiers of the Serbian league pyramid.
He has racked up over 220 professional appearances, also having a brief loan spell in Slovenia back in the 2010/11 season, most recently playing for FK Indjija, helping them to earn promotion in 18/19.
His ability to play as part of a back four, or just in front of them, will provide Sichuan with some flexibility to their team, with a strong defence likely needed with their recent promotion.
The second import player announced by Sichuan Jiuniu comes in the form of veteran French winger Jules Iloki.
Iloki brings with him a good pedigree after playing the majority of his career with Ligue 1 side Nantes, where he made 86 appearances in all competitions as well as a further 68 for their B team during the early stage of his career.
The Paris native moved to Romanian second tier side Concordia Chiajna in the 2018/19 season, making just seven appearances before remaining a free agent until Sichuan signed him this week.
With a whole year of no football, fitness will be key to Iloki’s success in China, with the natural right-sided winger providing the club with an attacking option that could succeed at this level.
There is still plenty of time until the transfer window closes for second tier clubs in China, meaning that there’s still an opportunity for them to add another import signing – especially at the striker position.