Fresh from smashing the Chinese transfer fee record, Argentinian midfielder Dario Conca will report for duty with Guangzhou Evergrande next week as the Super League's most expensive player. Conca, who signed with Evergrande on 2 July for in a $10m transfer fee from Fluminense, will meet the press after his Monday arrival in Guangzhou in southern China and could don his new team colours by mid-week, state media said.
Voted player of the season in Brazil in 2010, Conca signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the Chinese Super League leaders in a deal worth about $7m-a-year after taxes, the Yangcheng Evening News said. That would make him the most expensive player ever in China, according to several Chinese media outlets.
"For sure, the money from Evergrande is very large - as far as I'm concerned, the money is good, so in the end I have accepted Evergrande's offer," Conca told Titan Sports Weekly. "I was also impressed with Evergrande's sincerity... besides helping to improve the team's results, I hope I can help improve and raise the image of Chinese football around the world."
Conca said he was especially looking forward to a friendly match against Real Madrid in Guangzhou on 3 August. The previous Chinese transfer record was also set by big-spending Evergrande when they snared the Brazilian Cleo for $4.65m earlier this year, reports said.
Evergrande holds a seven-point advantage over second-place Beijing Guoan after 14 matches in the 30-game Super League season. With the addition of Conca, they look odds-on to at least qualify for the 2012 AFC Champions League and are clear favourites for the 2011 Super League title. The club, which was relegated two years ago due to a match-fixing scandal, advanced to the Super League this season, spending a reported $18m on transfers.
Besides Conca, Evergrande -- coached by South Korean Lee Jang-Soo -- fields a team that includes five Chinese internationals and three Brazilians, including strikers Cleo and Muriqui and defender Paulo. The club is owned by the Evergrande Real Estate Group, one of China's top real estate companies, and whose owner Xu Jiayin is reportedly one of China's richest tycoons.