Most active Chinese Super League teams in the transfer market so far

Chinese Super League

The winter transfer market has been open for more than a month and plenty of teams in the Chinese Super League have made quick work of adding new faces to their squads ahead of the 2024 season.

With rules changing this year, which will allow teams to utilise five import players on the pitch at the same time, an increase from four last season, teams are working hard to strengthen in all areas of the pitch and bring in new players for fans to get excited about.

Not all teams have been exceptionally active so far, however, so here are the teams that have made the most confirmed signings at the time of writing, with plenty more moves expected across the league once the Spring Festival comes to a close.

Changchun Yatai

Changchun Yatai have been exceptionally active this off-season, working quickly to bring in at least six new faces to try to build a stronger team than the one that finished ninth last time out.

A comprehensive look at all of their transfers, including both ingoings and outgoings, with all of them confirmed except for Duan Liuyu, can be found in an earlier piece.


After finishing 10th in the Chinese Super League last season, Henan have wasted no time in trying to reshape their squad and look to build a much stronger outfit for 2024, bringing no less than 10 new players to Hanghai Stadium.

The club have worked to grab a few bargains as they have recruited, snapping up a handful of players from both Dalian Professional and Shenzhen respectively, with both clubs officially dissolving not too long after their relegations were confirmed.

Goalkeeper Wang Jinshuai arrives from Dalian, while Henan have also brought in right back Xu Haofeng, central midfielder Huang Ruifeng, and left-sided winger Frank Acheampong from Shenzhen.

Acheampong’s history in China dates back to an initial loan spell with Tianjin TEDA in 2017, going on to make over 130 league appearances in spells with Tianjin and Shenzhen respectively, scoring 48 goals in the process. The team will be hoping he can help boost a poor offensive unit from last year, which only netted 38 times all year.

In terms of other domestic signings, Henan have targeted players all over the pitch, including goalkeeper Xu Jiamin from Tianjin, another right back in Yang Kuo from Wuhan Three Towns, and fellow left-sided midfielders Liu Bin (Chengdu Rongcheng) and Yang Yilin (Meizhou Hakka).

Henan have rounded out their winter spending with a couple of Brazilian import players in the form of attacking midfielder Bruno Nazario from Chapecoense and centre back Iago Madiana from America-MG.

Qingdao West Coast

After finishing as runners-up of the 2023 China League One, Qingdao West Coast have begun building a squad that they hope will be able to keep them in the top tier beyond their debut season.

They have also worked quickly to snap up players from Shenzhen’s misfortune, bringing in defensive minded players Yang Boyu and Piao Shihao. Right back Piao Shihao (32) brings with him 188 professional appearances across the top two tiers and the Chinese FA Cup throughout his career, while centre back Yang Boyu (34) arrives with nearly 220 professional appearances, playing for clubs such as Dalian Shide, Dalian A’erbin, Shanghai Port, Changchun Yatai, Jiangsu Suning and Wuhan Yangtze.

Both will give Qingdao West Coast plenty of veteran leadership and experience that will make the transition into the Chinese Super League easier for some of their players. Meanwhile, they have added 32-year-old central midfielder Du Junpeng, who has played his entire career below the top tier, but has over 200 appearances under his belt.

It is still early days for the recently promoted team, who will undoubtedly be looking to make further additions to their squad and develop a team that can remain at the top level beyond the 2024 season.

Shandong Taishan

As a team that is perennially considered a contender for the Chinese Super League, it’s unsurprising that Shandong Taishan have already made some noteworthy additions to their squad ahead of the new campaign.

Having finished runners-up of both the league and Chinese FA Cup, Shandong will be desperate to go one step further in at least one of the competitions and lift silverware in 2024, ensuring their trophy ‘drought’ lasts no longer than one season after a three-year run of cup wins along with the 2021 league title.

With former star player Marouane Fellaini retiring from football altogether, the need for new import players was evident, with the team bringing in two potentially deadly acquisitions in the form of Brazilian striker Zeca from K-League side Pohang Steelers, along with Georgian left winger Valeri Qazaishvili from Ulsan Hyundai.

Both players had decent scoring records in the Korean top league and will look to link up regularly for Shandong, leading the attacking line and making them the top competitor once again for Shanghai Port, who will be keen to defend their 2023 title success.

Behind them, attacking midfielder Peng Xinli has also arrived from Shanghai Shenhua. With 240 professional appearances, including 21 goals and 22 assists, Peng Xinli will be hoping to bring his experience to the table and provide support behind the team’s two marquee import signings, potentially bringing him more silverware after some successes earlier in his career.

Rounding out Shandong’s signings thus far is a pair of centre backs. Gao Zhunyi arrives from Wuhan Three Towns, who continue selling off some of their higher-paid players to try to secure their long-term future in the league after 2022’s title success was followed by disappointment and financial uncertainty in 2023.

Alongside him is veteran Bi Jinhao, who joins the club after just one season with Changchun Yatai, having played for Shanghai Shenhua prior to that. Both players have combined for 354 professional appearances and will be keen to make an impact and potentially lift a tropy or two by the end of the season.

Shanghai Port

The reigning Chinese Super League champions have worked hard to bring in players that should have a significant impact of the squad, trying to build on last year’s success and forge a future that will see them compete at the top of the table once again.

Taiwan international attacking midfielder Will Donkin, known as Shen Zigui on the mainland, has joined the club on a free after Shenzhen’s demise. Two goals in 27 CSL games with Shenzhen, Shen Zigui will be keen to improve his individual stats and prove that he is capable of hanging around on a top team in the league, while also adding to his 18 caps for the Taiwan national team.

Alongside him arrives Brazilian striker Gustavo from K-League side Jeonbuk. With two K-League titles and an array of goal contributions throughout his career, totalling over 115, Gustavo will be looking to add to his tally and be a true force in China, bringing further success and trophies to the SAIC Motor Pudong Arena.

Deeper in the line-up is defensive midfielder Matheus Jussa, who arrives from Fortaleza, with the Brazilian having a wealth of experience in his home nation, with 157 professional appearances to his name.

Shanghai Shenhua

Shanghai Shenhua enter 2024 fresh off the back of a Chinese FA Cup victory, their fourth since Chinese football turned professional in the early 1990’s, so it is important for them to bring in players capable of elevating an already promising squad that also finished fifth in the league.

They have started with veteran winger Xie Pengfei, who arrived from Wuhan Three Towns in their ongoing exodus of players, and he will keen to cement his place in the line-up and continue to be a key player both at club and international level, with 16 caps for China since his debut in 2019.

The club have also brought in defensive midfielder Gao Tianyi from Beijing Guoan, having been a key contributor for the capital city side over the past three seasons. Despite being just 25 years old, he already has 166 professional appearances (six goals, 22 assists) with clubs including Beijing, Jiangsu Suning and Shenzhen throughout his career and he projects to be a regular in the starting eleven under Leonid Slutsky.

Shenhua have also added two import signings in the form of right back Wilson Manafa, who heads to China from Spanish club Granada, and striker Andre Luis from Moreirense. Manafa brings with him plenty of experience in Portugal’s top league, having spent much of his career with FC Porto, where he featured regularly for the team in both domestic and Champions League action.

Andre Luis, meanwhile, has appeared frequently in both Brazil and Portugal, with 60 goals and eight assists in 180 professional games. He will be looking to lead the line for Shanghai Shenhua and add to his solitary Portuguese second-tier title.


Zhejiang had a strong 2023 campaign, finishing third in the Chinese Super League standings, and they have already begun work to ensure the team does not take a step backward next season.

First order of business was to bring back last year’s top goalscorer in the league in Leonardo, who netted 19 goals between spells with Zhejiang and Changchun Yatai, and will be looking to make his mark on the league again with another loan spell from Shandong Taishan, who inexplicably do not see him as an option for their own squad.

Along with Leonardo, left back Sun Guowen has also joined from Shandong, looking to use his 174 professional appearances to provide valuable experience to a team clearly on the rise.

Not content to allow Zhao Bo to feel complacent in his role as starting goalkeeper, Zhejiang have also brought in experienced stopper Dong Chunyu from Shenzhen, with the 32-year-old likely to push Zhao Bo and keep things competitive between the sticks for the club this season.

These are the most notable transfers from the most active teams in the market so far this off-season, with plenty moves expected over the coming weeks as teams look to desperately build competitive teams ahead of the 2024 season.