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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 19 September, 2018
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Hulk arrives in China to sign €55 million deal with Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai

The striker is the latest player to move to the lucrative Chinese Super League.

The Brazilian scored 56 league goals in three seasons for Zenit.
The Brazilian scored 56 league goals in three seasons for Zenit.
Image: EMPICS Sport

ZENIT ST PETERSBURG’S Brazilian international Hulk arrived in Shanghai today to sign for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG team, as the cash-flush Chinese Super League embarks on a new round of transfer spending.

A horde of cheering red-shirted fans mobbed the 29-year-old at Shanghai airport as he made his way through the arrivals halls carrying two bouquets of flowers.

Russian media have said Zenit would be paid around €55 million euros for his services.

SIPG said the “Incredible Hulk” would undergo a medical on Thursday, after which he would be officially signed, with a press conference to follow later.

The deal could break the Asian transfer record of €50 million, paid by Jiangsu Suning for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Alex Teixeira earlier this year in China’s world-leading transfer splurge.

President Xi Jinping has ambitions to make the Asian giant a footballing power.

During the winter transfer window in January and February, Chinese teams broke the Asian transfer record four times in an acquisition spree that outstripped even the mega-rich Premier League.

But the big spending did not pay off for all of them. Guangzhou Evergrande and Jiangsu Suning flopped in the regional AFC Champions League, a route to a coveted Fifa Club World Cup spot — while Shanghai SIPG are through to the quarter-finals.

Because Shanghai SIPG already have the maximum five foreign players, Hulk’s arrival would mean one would have to leave the club.

Shanghai SIPG are fourth in the Chinese Super League table but have struggled in recent matches and are winless in five games.

On Saturday they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to mid-ranked Tianjin Teda.

© AFP 2016

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