Some six months or so before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang switched from Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal, a deal very nearly took him to play his football in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Back then, it was widely reported that Tianjin Quanjian were ready to splash the cash to the tune of £71m for the striker. For one reason or another, the hook-up didn’t happen and Gabon hitman Aubameyang eventually moved to the north London giants for £56million in January of 2018.
Aubameyang, it is fair to say, has been an unqualified success at Arsenal and, indeed, to back this claim up you just need to look at the fact that he won the Premier League Golden Boot last term with 22 goals, albeit that he shared the award with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But that hasn’t stopped a whirlwind of speculation linking Aubameyang — who has netted 41 goals in 65 games for Unai Emery’s side — with a move away from the Emirates Stadium to ply his trade in the CSL. This time it is said to be both Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG who are ready to offer Aubameyang wages of around £300,000 a week to lure him away. For the record, though, he still has two years remaining on his current contract and Gunners fans would not be happy if he was allowed to leave.
In the league itself, Beijing Guoan’s victorious start to the campaign came to an end when defending champions Shanghai SIPG notched a 2-1 triumph over the table-toppers. Schemer Cai Huikang headed in 10 minutes from time to hand Vitor Pereira’s side the win as Beijing were defeated for the first time in the 11 matches since the start of the campaign.
Ex-Chelsea ace Oscar gave SIPG the lead when he scored after 28 minutes into the game but Yu Dabao’s header brought Beijing level just before the hour — then Cai to give his team the win.
Meanwhile, ex-Wales boss Chris Coleman has been axed by Hebei China Fortune — just 11 months after taking the job. He was sacked when Hebei were one place off being rock-bottom in the CSL standings having notched just one victory in the nine games he was in charge this season.
The club confirmed Coleman’s departure in a segment which read:
“After friendly negotiation and agreement reached between the two parties, with immediate effect, Mr Chris Coleman will no longer serve as head coach.”
After losing 3-2 at home to Henan Jianye, disgruntled supporters held up a flag which read:
“Hello Mr. Coleman, please go home! You’re fired!!!”
and in Chinese said:
“Coleman, your mum wants you home for dinner.”