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February 20, 2016

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Shenhua signs Kim as its Asian player

SHANGHAI Greenland Shenhua has filled up its quota of foreign players for the new season after signing South Korean defender Kim Kee-hee from the K-league side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors for US$6 million.

Kim’s agent has described the deal as the “biggest transfer in Korean history.”

The Chinese Super League club announced the deal yesterday, just one day after it unveiled Nigerian international Obafemi Martins.

With the arrival of the South Korean defender, the club confirmed the departure of Greek-Australian defender Avraam Papadopoulos. The other three foreign players are newly signed Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin, Senegal striker Demba Ba and captain Giovanni Moreno from Colombia.

The 26-year-old Kim started his career at Daegu FC before moving to Qatari side Al-Sailiya on loan. He joined Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2013 and helped the team win two successive K-league titles.

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua is currently in South Korea to play pre-season friendly matches ahead of the new season that kicks off on March 5.

Oriental Sports Daily reported that Shenhua’s new Spanish manager Gregorio Manzano was not a great admirer of Papadopoulos as he was “too introverted and lacked the quality of a leader.”

The paper said the club first considered Turkish-Australian Ersan Gulum as his replacement. But Gulum joined CSL newcomer and big-spending side Hebei China Fortune Football Club earlier this month, forcing Shenhua to go for Kim as its Asian player for the new season.

The CSL allows each team to register five foreign players and one player from Asia.

On the pitch, however, only four foreigners can lineup for a match, including the Asian player.


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