Chinese Super League powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande opened a “talent exchange center” on its official website, making its players “available” for potential buyers.
At the center, all of Evergrande’s players, including its five foreign stars, have been divided into three age groups — over 23, 19-23 and under 19. Information, including players’ height, weight, year of birth, position, skills and abilities, has been provided. There are no price tags, but cellphone numbers and email addresses of two contact persons are provided at the bottom of each page, meaning those interested in buying the listed players can reach the club for negotiations.
It’s the first time that a Chinese football club has built a talent market-like platform, an apparent quick response to Evergrande boss Xu Jiayin’s plan to increase the club’s earnings through player exchanges.
Xu said at a preseason motivational meet on Monday the club needed to “seek other revenue methods apart from ticket sales and run the club as a business”.
Compulsory exchanges of players and elimination in different age categories would also be carried out from this year onwards so that the club could rely more on its own training system when forming a team in the future instead of buying.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi told Guangzhou Daily, alluding to the talent center. “Exchanges are common among professional players. Evergrande has set a precedent by building the platform, which means everybody has been given a value.”
The 36-year-old Zheng, who captains both the club and the Chinese national team, has been described as a “midfield core player, experienced, versatile, good in both attacking and defending” on the website.
“The center can enhance competition, select the superior and eliminate the inferior,” Zheng told the paper. “All exchanges are for the sake of improving the team’s performance.”
As the most successful CSL club, having won six successive domestic titles and two AFC Champions League crowns, Evergrande, under Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, aims to win a quadruple of titles (CSL, AFC, CFA Cup and Super Cup) in 2017. It has also set a goal of building an all-Chinese team by year 2020. Xu said that the club’s plan for foreign player signings would be to hire less, not more.