China’s Zhang Xizhe introduced in Germany with Wolfsburg

The attacking midfielder's transfer from Beijing Guoan to the Bundesliga was completed on Tuesday as one of China's biggest footballing stars made the leap into European waters.
Chinese player Zhang Xizhe poses with his new Wolfsburg shirt at an introduction with the Bundesliga club on Tuesday in Germany. John MacDougall / AFP / December 16, 2014
Chinese player Zhang Xizhe poses with his new Wolfsburg shirt at an introduction with the Bundesliga club on Tuesday in Germany. John MacDougall / AFP / December 16, 2014

Chinese star Zhang Xizhe’s transfer from Beijing Guoan to Bundesliga side Wolfsburg is set to be completed on Tuesday with his first press conference screened live in China.

The 23-year-old has been given a contract until 2017 with Wolfsburg to pay Beijing Gouan a transfer sum of EU€750,000 (Dh3.4m) for the attacking midfielder.

Such is the interest at home that China’s state broadcaster CCTV will screen Zhang’s first press conference live to make use of China’s primetime viewing market.

“At the peak, between 40 to 50 million viewers are expected,” said a Wolfsburg press spokesman.

Should Zhang successfully transfer his Chinese Super League form to the Bundesliga, Wolfsburg will have signed a bargain.

But he will be given an extended period to adjust to the physicality of German football, the culture and the language.

“He is quick and can play in all the positions behind the strikers,” said Wolfsburg’s coach Dieter Hecking.

“But the boy speaks no English and he has to first of all find his feet with us and get used to the level of training.”

Zhang arrived in Germany on Saturday and was in the crowd to watch his new team’s 1-1 draw against Paderborn on Sunday which left them second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich.

Wolves are on course to play in the Champions League next season and the club’s website was launched in Chinese on Monday.

Zhang has made 10 international appearances for China and scored his first of two international goals in a 6-1 thrashing of Singapore in September 2013.

China’s Young Player of 2012 will become the only active Chinese player in the German league, but not the first.

He will follow in the footsteps of Hao Junmin, who made 14 league appearances for Schalke in 2010 and 2011; Shao Jiayi, who joined 1860 Munich in 2003, then Energie Cottbus in 2006; and striker Yang Chen, who made 65 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt up until 2001, scoring 16 goals.

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Published: December 16, 2014 04:00 AM

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