In the last few rounds, He Xiaoke, the young striker on loan from Shandong Taishan to Sabadell and former China U18 captain has been excluded from the starting lineup of the Sabadell U19 and many fans are worried. However, there is a perfectly good reason for this situation, which is not that he doesn’t have the ability to start for the team. Rather, the reason is that he has confirmed earlier that he will not stay in the team next season. As he received an offer from a team in the La Liga 2, and is likely to move out and up. The team’s head coach, consequently, is very understandably giving priority to the players who in the 2005 and 2004 classes are confirmed to stay. All Ko has to do now is to finalise his future.
Last year, after playing his first U19 Honours League season, He Xiaoke was approached by other teams and decided on balance, staying with the U19s was a better guarantee of quality playing time in the Honours League and a chance to try out for the first team. He did end up doing well with the U19s, being called up to the national youth team for a time. And despite a few minor injuries to cause his availability to drop, He still score five goals and made his debut in the Primera Federación.
In his two years at Sabadell, He Xiaoke adapted to way football is played in Spain. He made considerable progress on the field and had impressive performances, including goals against the likes of Barca and Damm, and also played the first team. In fact, including from early on, he has decided to stay in Spain for as long as possible to improve himself. This offer from a La Liga 2 side was clearly something he needed to take advantage of as well.
That all said, since arriving at Sabadell in July 2021 He has encountered difficulties. Aside from the injuries which reduced his playing time he also had to deal with the language barrier and the attention paid to his private life. In early 2021, a women claimed to be his ex-girlfriend made public allegations about his unfaithfulness. He made to the U20 national team but was not selected by the Spanish Head Coach Antonio Puche into the final squad for the U20 Asian Cup. Puche’s comment that ‘I don’t need individualist players’ sparked widespread speculation of whom he made in mind. He Xiaoke, given his playstyle, was generally assumed to be included in the list of players who don’t do too much teamwork.
However, as 2022-23 season comes to an end and the U19 graduating class are settling into their senior teams, He Xiaoke has received decent offers. But the negotiations are not progressing fast.
With his graduation from the U19 team, He Xiaoke is definitely still looking to move up the ladder a bit. Some fans have already mentioned that this could be the transfer that determines the future course of his career. He will be reporting to the National Olympic team, which is U23, in May, bringing his U19 career to an early conclusion. In the meantime, negotiations will continue as Shandong Taishan’s attitude is still important.
All in all, the offer from La Liga 2 is genuine, rather than pure speculation. But negotiations are still ongoing and more progress will be made in the following weeks.