At 6:35 a.m. ET Friday, the Chinese Super League will kick off its 15th season.
One team got a big signing over the line just in time. Beijing Guoan has signed Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu for an African transfer record of $90 million.
Bakambu joins last season’s ninth place CSL team, bringing 67 goals from his previous four seasons. That includes 12 in 17 for Villarreal this season.
Guangzhou Evergrande won last season’s title by six points over Shanghai SiPG, with Tianjin Quanjian 10 points back of the champs.
What else is new in 2018?
— Dalian Yifang and Beijing Renhe were promoted from China League One, while Yanbian Funde and Liaoning FC were relegated.
— Italian manager Fabio Cannavaro left last season’s third place finishers, Tianjin Quanjian, for the reigning champs Guangzhou Evergrande. He takes the place of Luiz Felipe Scolari. Ex-Fiorentina and Basel boss Paulo Sousa takes his place.
— Who are the marquee foreign addition?
- Hebei China Fortune signed Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) and Hernanes.
- Dalian Yifang added three: Jose Fonte, Yannick Carrasco, Nicolas Gaitan.
- Beijing Guoan added Bakambu.
- Jiangsu Suning signed Gabriel Palotta of Milan, Richmond Boakye.
- Changchun Yatai signed Danish playmaker Lasse Vibe.
- Guizhou Hengfeng brings Nikica Jelavic from Beijing Renhe
- Beijing Renhe signed Augusto Fernandez from Atletico Madrid.
- Tianjin Teda added Frank Acheampong from Anderlecht
— Who’s still there?
- Odion Ighalo is at Changchun Yatai
- Eran Zahavi plays for Guangzhou R&F
- Renato Augusto and Jonathan Soriano play for Beijing Guoan, with Roger Schmidt the manager.
- Gervinho and Ezequiel Lavezzi are with Hebei China Fortune, managed by Manuel Pellegrini.
- Ricardo Vaz Te and Juan Cala play for Henan Jianye
- Ramires is still with Jiangsu Suning, playing for Fabio Capello.
- Papiss Cisse and Graziano Pelle play for Shandong Taishan
- Fredy Guarin and Obafemi Martins suit up with Shanghai Shenhua
- Hulk and Oscar play for Shanghai SiPG.
- Axel Witsel, Alexandre Pato, and Anthony Modeste signed with Tianjin Quanjian
- John Obi Mikel plays for Tianjin Teda.