Changchun Yatai has finalized his first team and revealed his new home shirt ahead of his return to the Chinese Super League next week.
2007 Chinese Super League winner Changchun Yatai has been absent from China’s top tier for the past two seasons, plying his trade in China League One after suffering a shock relegation in 2018.
Since coming down one level, Changchun has undergone a number of changes in his squad, seeing a number of players and even managers come and go in their quest to return to the country’s top league.
After Uzbek manager Samvel Babayan pushed the team up to the second-place title, Chen Yang stepped in and finished the job – seeing the club undefeated in the promotion phase of the 2020 competition with dominant performances.
Now their attentions turn to staying in the CSL when all is said and done by the end of the 2021 season, with their finalized first-team team looking competitive on both ends of the pitch.
Important signs carried out
Changchun Yatai had to add a few additions to his China League One roster, and brought some truly deadly firepower as well as an impressive defensive addition that should secure the team when they return.
The most notable signing of this offseason has been the arrival of Brazilian strikers Erik Lima and Júnior Negrão, both of whom have extensive experience in Asian football.
Erik recently played in the J-League with Yokohama F. Marinos, where he scored 21 goals in 41 league appearances over the past two seasons.
Negrão, meanwhile, has been one of the most recognizable players in Asian football for the past half-decade, starting with a successful period in Thai League 1 before moving on to the K-League.
While in South Korea, Negrão has won Top XI honors in each of the past three seasons, finishing top scorer in the K-League and Asian Champions League in 2020, where he helped Ulsan Hyundai to win his second continental title.
Together with compatriot Serginho, Erik and Negrão could create a formidable attacking front for Chen Yang, with veteran China international Tan Long also likely to play an important role.
The team’s defense was also bolstered with the arrival of Danish center-back Jores Okore, who enjoyed success in his home country, as well as a brief stint with Aston Villa in the English Premier League.
Along with the 28-year-old former international, Changchun Yatai also sees the return of Jiang Zhe, who was part of the initial exodus when the club were relegated two years ago.
Jiang Zhe will likely take his starting role at the club’s right-back, helping give Chen Yang a CSL-worthy back line with Rao Weihui and team captain Sun Jie returning from last season.
While the team’s latest signings, which also include Hui Jiakang, Zhang Yufeng and Wang Pang, the club have a number of important returning players.
The most notable player Changchun Yatai probably didn’t expect to have this season is Dutch forward Richairo Zivkovic.
Zivkovic had a good season at Changchun in the 2019 China League One season, scoring 15 goals in 25 league appearances, earning him a loan to Premier League club Sheffield United before returning to China with Guangzhou City. (formerly R&F).
It looked like the Dutchman would be sold to welcome Changchun’s latest additions, but his preseason performances eventually saw him stay with the club, with a chance of having an impressive season in the top flight before his expiration. contract in December.
With Zivkovic added to the mix, Changchun Yatai has a number of options up front that could help them have a positive comeback in the Chinese Super League, where scoring frequently will be crucial for their chances of survival.
Changchun Yatai has retained the core of a team that dominated in second place last season and made signings that really shaped them to become a competitive team once again in the CSL.
The team’s midfielder, who recently lost Lucas Souza on loan to Beijing Guoan, will be the main cause of concern for the team, who will rely on Chen Po-Liang, Zhang Li and Dilyimit Tudi to hold their own. against an opposition much harsher than them. faced last season.
Avoiding relegation will be the team’s primary focus, but his build and Chen Yang’s style of play should see them face off much higher in the standings.
While they won’t compete with players like Beijing Guoan, Guangzhou FC or Shanghai Port, they will certainly be the pick of the pack around the mid-table and a finish around the eighth would be an outstanding achievement from the first time around.