Beijing Guoan could be poised to pull off one of the biggest transfer coups of the season — and having lost their last league game to see the Chinese Super League title stay at arm’s length, it could be very well-timed.
The superstar in question is none other than Gareth Bale, who is very much surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, having endured a torrid time under the stewardship of coach Zinedine Zidane. It seems the Wales attacker is bound to leave the Spanish giants one way or another and with the appetising carrot of around £1million a week being dangled in front of him, his destination could well be China.
Beijing Guoan chief Roger Schmidt has made it clear his side need the sort of power injection Bale can provide as they chase the CSL crown and the club don’t seem to be baulking at the humongous amount of money said to be required to lure the former Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton ace to a new venture in the east.
They were the front-runners and looked entirely capable of winning the title — indeed, they had been top since the fourth round of matches, But, then came the single-goal reverse. Following the 1-0 defeat to Jiangsu Suning last time of asking, it would appear Schmidt has a point. Bale, with all the qualities he brings to the table, not least of which is a huge amount of experience, could well be the spark needed by Beijing Guoan to catch table-toppers Guangzhou Evergrande. After the defeat, Schmidt said:
“We have won 16 games and it is incredible when we review it now. In this game, we lost and now another team is ranked first in the standings, but we still have 11 games to go and we will continue to fight and fight.”
Guangzhou Evergrande showed no such frailties in their game when they ran out 5-0 winners over Guangzhou R&F. Brazilian goal ace Elkeson hit a hat-trick in the triumph, one from the penalty spot, while a fellow countryman, Paulinho, bagged a goal as did Wei Shihao. The victory saw Fabio Cannavaro’s team extend their winning league run to 10 matches, a fact not lost on the delighted coach.
Meanwhile, striker Marko Arnautovic headed a debut goal on his first CSL outing for defending champions Shanghai SIPG but they could only chalk up a 2-2 draw with Chongqing Lifan. Attacker Arnautovic, who teamed up with Vitor Pereira’s SIPG from West Ham United recently, managed to hit his goal having been introduced as a sub — the goal gave Shanghai a 2-1 advantage in the 62nd minute. But Alan Kardec popped up to level ten minutes later.
And so, the title race remains firmly on!