Changchun Yatai are the 2020 China League One champions and will be looking to strengthen their squad ahead of their return to the Chinese Super League.
The club recruited exceptionally well prior to this season, bringing in players with top tier experience that made an immediate impact, with the likes of Rao Weihui and Chen Po-liang immediately filling starting roles on the team.
Some commenters believed that the team built by then-manager Samvel Babayan was Chinese Super League quality, but that doesn’t mean that Chen Yang, who replaced the Uzbek manager mid-season, can assume it will be good enough next season.
The northeastern club will undoubtedly be looking to add some high-quality import players in the attacking third, with questions over whether or not Aaron Olanare will be good enough to lead the line in the top tier.
But one position that could be looked at is right back, which has primarily been filled by Yan Zhiyu – with youngster Cui Qi stepping in at various times this season.
While Cui Qi and Yan Zhiyu have both done a good job in the second tier, one player that could be looking for a move away, and could be an upgrade for the club, is Guangzhou Evergrande’s Deng Hanwen.
After starting his professional career with Inner Mongolia Zhongyou, where he earned promotion from China League Two in the club’s first ever season and racked up 68 league appearances, Deng Hanwen earned a move to Beijing Renhe, which led to international recognition.
The Chongqing native played seven matches with the China national team in 2017, which gained the attention of the now eight-time CSL champions in Guangzhou, whom he joined ahead of the 2018 season.
After featuring in 21 CSL games in his debut season at the Tianhe Stadium, winning the 2018 Chinese FA Cup and 2019 Chinese Super League, Deng has found himself on the fringes of the first team.
This has largely occurred thanks to the emergence of Jiang Guangtai (Tyias Browning), who can play both centrally as well as out on the right.
This season, Deng Hanwen has made just five total appearances as Guangzhou finished as runners up to Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League.
At 25 years old, Deng has not featured in the national team since 2018 and is in desperate need of regular first-team football if he hopes to ever be considered for it again, which makes Changchun Yatai an intriguing proposition for him.
Chen Yang’s side has a great foundation to build upon and already has Tan Long featuring in the national team, despite the fact he has been playing in the second tier.
The club could do with making some big moves when next season’s transfer window opens and taking a player such as Deng Hanwen would certainly show they are seriously looking to cement their position in the top tier.
For Deng, he would slot into the starting position on the right side of defence immediately, beating out Yan Zhiyu, and getting his career back on track.
He may not win silverware with Changchun Yatai, unless they start taking the CFA Cup seriously, but he would put himself in a stronger position for international consideration and would undoubtedly rack up meaningful minutes, something he can’t do at Guangzhou anymore.
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