Tax has been paid 'in full' as transfer saga ends after weeks
Chinese Super League (CSL) side Beijing Guoan on Thursday officially announced the signing of Democratic Republic of the Congo forward Cedric Bakambu, ending a transfer saga that had been rolling for weeks.
The former Villarreal player rescinded his contract with the La Liga club in mid-January and started to train with Guoan, but he was not officially signed -until Wednesday, the deadline for the CSL transfer window before the new season.
To curb irrational investment in the transfer market, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) last year imposed a new 100 percent transfer tax on foreign players over 45 million yuan ( million). And Bakambu's reported 40 million euro ( million) price was well above that threshold.
It was widely believed that Guoan had been trying to figure out a way to dodge the transfer tax. Reports said the club bought out Bakambu's contract at Villarreal through a third-party organization so the Congolese could join them as a free agent. But the CFA announced last month money used to buy out a player's contract will also be treated as a transfer fee, and teams who evade the levy by plugging loopholes in the rule could face point deductions.
Guoan General Manager Li Ming told a press conference on Thursday that the club have paid the transfer tax "in full." He refused to reveal the amount due to a "confidentiality agreement," but said it was not as much as reported.
The French-born Congolese made his professional debut at French club Sochaux in 2010, then moved to Turkish side Bursaspor in 2015. One year later he joined Villarreal, scoring 32 times in his 75 appearances in Spain. He played for France up to the under-20 level, but made his senior international debut for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2015, having won 16 caps since.
The 26-year-old will earn an annual salary of 18 million euros in Beijing on a four-year deal, according to reports.
"Finally I can meet you -officially after such a long time," Bakambu told reporters at the press conference.
"It wasn't an easy decision for me to come to China as I was playing well at Villarreal. I hope I can help the team get a good result with my performance."
The club also announced another signing on Thursday. Spanish midfielder Jonathan Viera joined them from La Liga side Las Palmas for 11 million euros. The 28-year-old scored 21 times in his 90 appearances for Las Palmas in the last three years. He played once for Spain in October.
The two could debut for Guoan on Sunday as they travel to Shandong Luneng in their opening game of the new CSL season.
Guoan named striker Yu Dabao their new captain for the new season, while Brazilian midfielder Renato Augusto will serve as his deputy.
Former captain Yang Zhi is still recovering from a torn ligament on his left knee. The goalkeeper was injured in a training session in February and will be out for five to six months.