Incredible: Brazilian striker Hulk signs for Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG in record deal

The forward has joined the Chinese Super League side from Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg for an initial fee of 55.8 million (HK$481.8 million)

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 5:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 7:52pm

Brazilian striker Hulk signed for Chinese side Shanghai SIPG on Thursday for a record initial fee of €55.8 million (HK$481.8 million) after passing a medical, Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg have confirmed.

A press conference will be held Friday to announce “the Incredible Hulk” joining Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side, a SIPG spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Zenit and Shanghai SIPG have come to an agreement regarding the transfer of the Brazilian forward. Compensation for the player will total 55.8 million euros and there will be add-ons,” Zenit said in a statement on their website (www.fc-zenit.ru read).

The transfer deal is the biggest in Russian football history.

Russian media had said Zenit would be paid around 55 million (HK$475 million) for his services, but according to posts on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, SIPG’s general manager Sui Guoyang said the figure was “not that high”.

Website transfermarkt, which tracks dealings in the sport, put the fee at 56 million (HK$484 million) on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Hulk, who has won 46 caps for Brazil and scored 11 goals, joined Zenit from Porto in 2012 for 40 million (HK$345.4).

He scored 56 goals for Zenit in 97 Russian Premier League matches and was the league’s top scorer in the 2014-15 season with 15 goals.

Zenit finished third last season as the club missed out on qualification for the Champions League and will play in the Europa League.

During the winter transfer window in January and February, Chinese teams broke the Asian transfer record four times in an acquisition spree that outstripped even the mega-rich English Premier League.

But the big spending did not pay off for all of them. Guangzhou Evergrande and Jiangsu flopped in the regional AFC Champions League, a route to a coveted FIFA Club World Cup spot, while Shanghai are through to the quarter-finals.

But as Shanghai already have the maximum five foreign players, Hulk’s signing means that one would have to leave the club.

Shanghai are currently fourth in the Super League table but have struggled in recent matches and are winless in five games and on Saturday they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to mid-table Tianjin Teda.

Additional reporting by Reuters