What’s going on with Cedric Bakambu? Beijing Guoan say they know nothing about reported Chinese Super League move
Capital city club deny knowledge of widely reported record deal for Villareal’s Congolese striker and that they heard he left Spain for ‘personal reasons’
Beijing Guoan are pleading ignorance over the protracted fate of Cedric Bakambu even after the striker declared he was China-bound in a reported €40 million (HK$383 million) deal.
In a statement, the Chinese Super League club declined to confirm Bakambu’s signing and said they had heard he left Spain’s Villarreal for “personal reasons”.
It raises major questions over whether the drawn-out move for the French-born Congolese hitman, who has hit nine La Liga goals this season, will now go ahead.
Villarreal last week said Bakambu had left after he terminated his contract, and the 26-year-old declared in a video that he was going to “play in Beijing”.
It was widely reported in French and Spanish media that Bakambu was set to move to Beijing after the €40 million buyout clause in his contract was triggered.
— Villarreal CF (@VillarrealCF) 17 January 2018
But Guoan, who had previously stayed silent on the matter, said: “We recently received a fax from your office inquiring about Bakambu’s buy-out clause on his contract with Villarreal.
“We were not aware of this. We learned later through multiple channels that he left the club for personal reasons.”
The issue appears to be the Chinese FA’s 100 per cent tax rule, which was slapped on clubs last May to halt a buying frenzy that included a series of record transfers.
Under the rule, Chinese clubs buying foreign players must pay an amount equivalent to the transfer fee into a fund designed to bolster youth soccer.
The CFA this month warned it was closely watching to make sure clubs do not flout the rule, after Guoan and Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande were reportedly locked in a bidding war for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chinese media said Evergrande won the race for his signature – but Evergrande later denied any interest in Aubameyang, and repeated a pledge to field an all-Chinese team by 2020.
Beijing Guoan finished ninth in the 16-team Chinese Super League last season under German coach Roger Schmidt, and appear determined to buy a goalscorer before the start of the new campaign in March.