Chinese Whispers

Chinese Whispers

By Christopher Atkins (follow Christopher on twitter @china_football)

It’s been a big week of football news in China, and once again Christopher Atkins brings you all the latest in his weekly Chinese Whispers column.

Aerbin continue to strengthen

Liaoning winger Yu Hanchao is expected to join local rivals Dalian Aerbin later this week, despite reports of a RMB45 million (£4.5 million) bid from Guangzhou Evergrande which have turned out to be false. The champions are considered to still be interested in the 25-year-old China national team star, but Dalian-native Yu is reportedly hoping to remain close to home in 2013.

Yu might not be the only international attacking midfielder heading to Aerbin, with the club also upping their interest in Tianjin TEDA’s controversial 27-year-old Chen Tao—also a Liaoning province native. Guangzhou Fuli are also hopeful of acquiring his services for 2013, but Aerbin look to be leading the way.

Last week, though, we discussed how Aerbin had already taken on board four players from local rivals Shide, so there is debate over how the club will meet the league’s allowance of registering just five domestic transfers. There is, though, talk that each CSL team could be allowed a special allowance to sign up to two former Dalian Shide players.

More on the two Dalian sides’ protracted and complicated merger process can be found here.


Shenhua in crisis

Yu Tao has sensationally left Shanghai Shenhua

Shanghai Shenhua appear to be in an ever-increasing state of disarray after it was announced on Thursday that long-serving captain Yu Tao had walked out on the club to join city rivals Shenxin on a 3-year contract.

Shenhua have threatened to take their neighbours to FIFA for between RMB5-10 million (£500k-1 million) over a supposed option to re-sign the midfielder, but the Oriental Daily newspaper report that they would have little chance of success.

Yu’s exit after 11 years at the club comes as a massive blow for the fans still reeling from the sale of national team duo Wu Xi and Feng Renliang to Jiangsu Sainty and Evergrande respectively. The club’s backroom situation also remains confused, with the addition of a new manager for their Chinese players only, while their big name signings of 2012 could be set to leave.

Nicolas Anelka is already considered to have left, with the two parties currently discussing the termination of his contract. QPR are considered early favourites to secure the Frenchman should he become available.

Meanwhile, Ivorian Didier Drogba is being linked with clubs Europe-wide, with little chance of Shenhua retaining his services unless recent boardroom disputes are solved.

Where all this leaves Argentine manager Sergio Batista, who is yet to sign a new contract, is anybody’s guess. More on Shenhua’s recent travails can be found here on Wild East Football.


News In Brief

A meeting of the Chinese Football League executive committee on Thursday night officially approved the return of the previous 4+1 foreign player registration rules. Clubs will be allowed to register five foreign players, of which one must be from an Asian federation (AFC) member country. On pitch, the 3+1 rule will still apply

Taiwanese full-back Xavier Chen is set to sign for Guizhou Renhe from Belgian side Mechelen, subject to completing a medical within the next week. 29-year-old Chen had been linked with Shenhua, but has opted to join Guizhou and will be classified as a domestic player for Super League affairs—but as a foreign player for AFC competition.

Guizhou did, though, this week part company with manager Gao Hongbo who “resigned” despite having led the West China side to the Champions League and CFA Cup final. His exit is believed to be linked to the club’s decision to retain veteran Sun Jihai, a player who Gao had insisted would move on and who he had notably refused to select as National Team coach.

China international defender Zhang Yaokun became the latest Dalian Shide player to find a new home this week, signing for Guangzhou R&F (Fuli) on a free transfer. Zhang, 31, is allowed to move as he was out-of-contract in the North East, having been at his hometown side since their Dalian Wanda days in 1998.

25-year-old Levski Sofia midfielder Vlademir Gadzhev has received an offer from China and is currently considering his future. He is believed to be happy with the proposal, possibly from Dalian or Hangzhou, but is hoping to remain in Europe with interested Chievo or Udinese.

Henan Jianye’s Zambian forward Chris Katongo was this week named BBC African Footballer of the Year, following his inspirational performances in captaining his country to Cup of Nations glory. Following relegation, his future is yet to be decided, but compatriot James Chamanga is edging closer to Liaoning after the end of his Shide contract.

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