Seven-time Chinese Super League winners Guangzhou Evergrande look poised to capture former striker Elkeson from title rivals Shanghai SIPG.
The striker will be leaving a club where he has netted over 50 goals in his three-and-a-half-year spell, with 10 to his name in all competitions so far this season.
The deal sees the Canton side’s de facto national team idea continue, as Elkeson will be joining fellow Brazilian Ricardo Goulart, and English defender Tyias Browning in a trifecta of CSL stars who will soon become naturalized Chinese players.
Titan Sports is today also reporting that Chongqing Lifan wide-man Fernandinho, soon to be 费尔南迪尼奥when he naturalizes, may also be on his way to Tianhe Stadium, as boss Fabio Cannavaro looks keen to utilize this loophole in the foreign player quota rule by naturalizing the best available talent.
Elkeson will be joining his former club in good form, after scoring against struggling Beijing Renhe in the league, and burying his penalty in SIPG’s shootout victory over South Korean side Jeonbuk in the Asian Champions League.
During his previous spell in Guangzhou, the Brazilian forward’s 59 goals for Evergrande helped the team lift three CSL titles and two Asian Champions Leagues from 2013 to 2015, before he moved to SIPG for RMB132 million.
Reports suggest that the forward is returning to his former club after they were willing to meet his new wage demands. Since he will soon be naturalized, the striker is rumored to want EUR10 million per year, up four million from his current EUR6 million salary.
Yesterday, West Ham United turned down a reported GBP19.7 million bid for forward Marko Arnautovic from an unnamed CSL club, just months after the Hammers rejected a GBP35 million bid in January which saw the Austrian hand in a transfer request.
Reigning CSL champions Shanggang were reported to be the interested party then, and with news of Elkeson’s sudden departure today, a move for Arnautovic from SIPG seems likely.
With attacking midfielder Anderson Talisca out of the picture for Evergrande as he recovers from a long-term injury, a space for another foreign player to be registered is open, and looks set to be filled by Elkeson before he naturalizes.
Should the Elkeson and Fernandinho deals go through, they will be joining a side who sit second in the table, just two points behind leaders Beijing Guo’an. SIPG currently occupy third spot behind Evergrande on goal difference and with an inferior head-to-head record.
[Cover image via @official_elkeson09/nstagram]