Bakambu bound for Beijing in record deal

Updated 2018-01-19 10:53:03 China Daily

Despite China's clampdown on lavish transfer market spending, Beijing Guo'an is poised to seal a record-breaking deal for Villarreal and Congo striker Cedric Bakambu.

Guo'an has reportedly agreed to meet the African's million release clause, with the 26-year-old confirming his departure for the Chinese capital in a video message posted on the Spanish club's Twitter account on Wednesday.

"It's a special day. After two-and-a-half years at the club I have to leave to play for Beijing," said Bakambu.

"It was a complicated decision but I spoke to my family and my teammates and I think this is a good opportunity for me and for my family.

"Today I have mixed feelings. Villarreal is a family and I will not forget them. People love me a lot here. I want to thank everyone."

A Villarreal statement on Wednesday confirmed Bakambu had "deposited the buyout clause on his contract, hence he is no longer a part of the club".

Chinese Football Association regulations aimed at curbing spending on foreign players dictate that Guo'an will have to pay a substantial tax on the transfer.

The combined total, estimated at around million, would make Bakambu the most expensive African player in history, eclipsing the million Liverpool paid Roma for Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah and the million the Reds have agreed to pay RB Leipzig for Guinea midfielder Naby Keita in the summer.

France-born Bakambu, who had also attracted interest from Tottenham, Newcastle, West Brom and West Ham, has helped Villarreal to fifth in La Liga this term, scoring nine goals in 15 league games and 14 in all competitions.

He arrived at The Yellow Submarine from Turkish club Bursaspor in 2015, netting 22 times in his first season and 12 times in the 2016-17 campaign.

Earlier this month, Guo'an was linked with Celta Vigo's Uruguay striker Maxi Gomez and Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. The latter is now being strongly linked with Arsenal.

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