Chinese football club Hebei China Fortune claimed Thursday to have taken a pragmatic approach to reinforcing its team, dismissing rumors on purportedly splashy bids for big-name players.
The purchase of foreign players will be carried out in accordance with the actual conditions of the team and the requirements of its coach Manuel Pellegrini, said Jerry Zhao, president of the Hebei China Fortune FC, in a press conference in Beijing.
Zhao's remarks were in response to recent rumors that have linked the China Super League (CSL) side with a series of foreign players, including Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Real Madrid's Colombian star James Rodriguez, and Portuguese defender Pepe.
The CSL, the highest tier of China's professional football structure, is set to kick off a new season in about two months.
Several of its teams have stepped up efforts to bring in foreign players amid big-money signings of Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Oscar and Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, by Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua, respectively.
Hebei China Fortune, now coached by ex-Real Madrid and Manchester City manager Pelligrini, has former Roma winger Gervinho, Chelsea midfielder Gael Kakuta and Argentina international Ezequiel Lavezzi in its ranks. But the injury-bound team only ended in seventh place in the CSL last season and missed its opportunity.
Fu Qiang, manager of Hebei China Fortune, said the club has not stopped seeking reinforcement but stressed there will be only minor adjustments to the squad this season.
He also suggested any candidate should be capable of playing Pelligrini's tactics, cost-effective, and not destabilize the existing structure of the team, along with possessing rich experience and a sense of responsibility.
The club has given full consideration to Pelligrini's suggestions on selecting players, Fu said. "It is consensus that the player's ability to fit in the team is the most critical factor for us to make decisions."
"It is hoped that Hebei China Fortune could have a better performance in the new season," Zhao said. "But more importantly, we are looking forward to seeing our teams, from the first team to the youth team, become more mature in their play." Enditem.