Holes in the Squad
According to multiple reports, 25-year-old versatile fullback Feng Boxuan is set to join Beijing Guoan. The deal, if gone through, will have strengthened the team’s bench considerably. The Wuhan-born defender who previously played for Henan Songshan Longmen is also able to play in attacking positions. As the regular starter for the club and national team squad regular Wang Gang is already 34 years old and Zhang Chengdong, who previously played as right-back but in more recently has completed the conversion into a defensive midfielder, if Feng Boxuan can get consistent playing time and perform well, he could be in contention for a starting spot fairly soon. Feng, an Guangzhou Evergrande trainee, shares similar playing style to Wang Gang but is widely considered less hard-headed. Indeed, both players have experience of playing professionally in Portugal in their early years. Feng has reportedly already arrived in Haikou to join the team’s winter training camp.
At the end of the last season, Guo’an suffered an en masse departure of Liu Huan, Jin Pengxiang and Jin Taiyan, leaving the club short staffed at the fullback positions. Although none of these players was particularly missed and youngsters Liang Shaowen and Ruan Qilong, who showed promise at the last legs of the league last season, could also play in this position, Liang and Ruan are, after all, less experienced and will have international commitments this season. Although Ruan Qilong has now returned to the team, he is more likely to be a replacement at center-back as Yu Dabao could no longer be seen as reliable as he once was. So strengthening the wing-backs has been one of the main tasks for Guoan this transfer window.
Down with the Temps
With the return of Li Lei from Grasshoppers Zurich, the left-back position is now doubly insured by him and Kang Sang-woo. While at right-back, even Li Ke (Nicolas Yennaris) can also try to play at this position, the effect was less than ideal, not to mention the frequent injuries he suffers from. With Li Ke being treated as more of a backup during his time with Guo’an, the team needs to bring in a reliable player for this position if they want to perform in the new season. Feng returned to China to play for Guangzhou Evergrande for the 2017 season after finishing his stint abroad. But Evergrande at the time was so star-stubbed and even international players had trouble ensuring playing time. But Feng proved his mettle after transferring to Henan as a loanee in 2020. The former China U23 International’s contract was up at the end of last year.
A strong and versatile player on the wing, and noted for his speed, Feng makes a perfect replacement for Wang Gang. The new cadet is one size smaller than Guoan’s current No.27. But if we talk about absolute speed alone, the 25-year-old Feng Boxuan definitely stands out. The purpose of bringing him in is clear: to find a qualified replacement for Wang Gang, the main right-back for the team. Feng can also use Guo’an as a stepping stone to challenge for a place in the national team, as a new coach in Aleksandar Jankovic will look for younger talent to build up the campaign for the next World Cup in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
In other Beijing Guo’an transfer news, the club seems to have finally secured the service of Arijan Ademi, captain of Dinamo Zagreb. The 32-year-old veteran will depart for China after playing his last league game in Croatia on March 19.