Guangzhou lands four more stars

Updated: 2011-12-28 08:17

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

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GUANGZHOU - Chinese Super League (CSL) champion Guangzhou Evergrande upgraded its squad by signing another four Chinese national team players on Monday.

With the recruitment of Rong Hao, Zhao Xuri, Li Jianbin, members of the senior national team, and Peng Xinli, a youth squad player, Evergrande now boasts 10 national players, the most in the league.

According to Chinese newspaper Soccer, the Cantonese club spent 22 million yuan ($3.5 million) in acquiring the four players, which includes a 12-million yuan deal for Hangzhou Greentown lynchpin Rong.

"Chinese soccer is becoming better, and there is no doubt that clubs will invest more into the transfer market," said Liu Yongzhuo, chairman of Evergrande. "In my opinion, the cost of domestic players must exceed 10 million yuan, which is one of the conditions of soccer development in China."

Evergrande was undoubtedly the biggest-spending club last season, as it spent 500 million yuan upgrading the team on the way to its first CSL title. It also created the league's biggest deal by bringing in Argentine midfielder Dario Conca for $10 million.

However, Shanghai Shenhua broke that record at the end of the season by signing French striker Nicolas Anelka. Liu said the coming of Anelka is good for the league, but refused to talk about his club's reported bid to lure Ivorian forward Didier Drogba, who is also apparently being chased by several other Chinese clubs.

"We will only talk about domestic players today," Liu said. "But I think the participation of players like Anelka will help improve the Chinese league and will make domestic games more attractive. I hope more distinguished players like Anelka will come to China.

"Each club has its own policy in introducing new players. I have said, for our club, the player's capability is more important than his fame, and his potential is more crucial than his experience. The list of our targeted players is proposed by the coaching team, and the club just works on it according to the coaching team's requirements."

Meanwhile, he said Evergrande will make more efforts to improve the medical treatment of its players next year. A new physical therapist from Germany will arrive on Jan 2, and the club has also reached an agreement with Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen to assist in that regard.

"We have signed a long-term contract with Leverkusen's recovery center, which means our players will be able to be diagnosed by German doctors while being treated in China, and we will also arrange for them to have surgery in Germany, if necessary," Liu said.

China Daily

(China Daily 12/28/2011 page23)