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How about a goalie from Mars?

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily) Updated: 2012-06-12 08:30

It doesn't matter where they're from. It matters where they can take Guangzhou Evergrande.

The organization isn't focusing on South American players to the exclusion of other talented imports, club chairman Liu Yongzhuo said on Monday.

"It is very interesting that almost all of our foreign players are from South America," Liu said. "But it does not mean that we are intentionally interested in introducing players from South America."

Speaking at a press conference on Monday marking the arrival of Lucas Barrios, Liu said the club doesn't consider nationality when it decides to bring in a foreign player.

The 27-year-old Paraguay international, a former striker with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, signed a four-year contract worth $10.69 million in May.

"We only take the player's competitive level into consideration," Liu said.

"The club will not look past any top players, regardless of where they are from."

Guangzhou Evergrande's star foreign imports are almost all from South America, including Argentine midfielder Dario Conca, Brazilian strikers Cleo and Muriqui and their compatriot defender Paulo.

Does that a signal the defending Chinese Super League champion aims to develop into a team with a more technical approach?

The club also has an Asian import, Cho Won-hee, a defensive-minded midfielder introduced from South Korea when former coach Lee Jang-soo took over.

"Now we have five strikers whose skills are at the international level," Liu said. "We hope they can make further contributions to help the team win games both in the domestic competition and the AFC Champions League."

The club joined five other members of the league council, under governance of the Chinese Football Association, to submit a proposal asking for more slots for foreign players.

(China Daily 06/12/2012 page24)

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