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Changchun Yatai make moves ahead of CSL kick-off

Changchun Yatai

Changchun Yatai have reportedly made a number of moves ahead of the opening match of the 2021 Chinese Super League season.

The first move, which has been officially announced, sees Brazilian defensive midfielder Lucas Souza join Beijing Guo’an on loan for the 2021 campaign.

The deal had been in the works for some time, with rumours floating on Chinese social media over the past month. Now, it has been confirmed by the capital city club, after Changchun Yatai were forced to offload an import player after a number of additions this off-season.

Souza played an important role during the team’s 2020 China League One title-winning season, having joined from Cypriot club APOEL, where he played as both a holding midfielder as well as in the dongbei club’s back four at times in 15 appearances.

With Erik Lima, Junior Negrao and Jores Okore’s arrival, this left Changchun Yatai needing to make some moves to clear room, with Souza heading to a Beijing team that will be without Renato Augusto, at least at the start of the campaign.

With Souza departing, reports on Weibo have suggested Changchun have worked to bring in two new Chinese players into the club, giving the team more depth ahead of April 20th.

Hui Jiakang, who had been reportedly training with Changchun Yatai in recent weeks, has supposedly joined the club officially, leaving Tianjin Tigers (formerly TEDA), even though the club will compete in the CSL this season.

The 31-year-old Shenyang, Liaoning native began his career with Shenzhen before a fruitless move to Hungary saw him joined Chengdu Blades, where he won promotion from the second tier.

He moved to Tianjin in 2012 and spent the next nine seasons with the club, going on to make 133 league appearances, scoring nine goals, and even earning three caps for the Chinese national team.

He is a versatile player that can be deployed out on the left wing as well as playing more centrally, and will give manager Chen Yang an experienced head in the dressing room as he looks to ensure Changchun Yatai remain in the top tier beyond this season.

Hui Jiakang is not the only player Changchun have reportedly brought in this week, with 23-year-old central midfielder Zhang Yufeng also supposedly signing with the club.

The Enshi, Hubei native moves to Changchun after the collapse of Beijing Renhe, with whom he had played his entire youth and professional career with, progressing through the team’s academy before making 47 league appearances across the top two tiers of Chinese football.

He isn’t likely to feature much for the club, likely just providing depth options, particularly if/when the Chinese FA Cup begins again, but if injuries impact the team in any way, then he could be a candidate to earn playing time now the Souza is no longer available.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and editor 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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