Bag­gies bag ris­ing Chi­nese star Zhang

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

China in­ter­na­tional Zhang Yun­ing has joined the Pre­mier League’s West Bromwich Al­bion from Dutch club Vitesse Arn­hem for an undis­closed fee.

The 20-year-old striker has penned a three-year deal with the Bag­gies but will im­me­di­ately be sent on loan to Bun­desliga club Werder Bre­men for two years.

Zhang wrote on his In­sta­gram ac­count: “A farewell mo­ment. What I am go­ing to say to my Vitesse fam­ily is thank you for all the help in the past two years, thanks to all the sup­port­ers that gave me the trust.

“You touched me when you shouted out my name. I hope you will cre­ate his­tory in this new sea­son and I will al­ways stand on your side.”

West Brom, which is man­aged by Tony Pulis, has sent Zhang to Werder be­cause it can’t ob­tain an English work per­mit for him at the mo­ment due to China’s po­si­tion out­side FIFA’s top-50 rank­ings.

“He will be chal­leng­ing for a place in a top Euro­pean league and we will be mon­i­tor­ing his progress be­fore re­assess­ing his prospects at the end of the loan pe­riod,” said Al­bion’s di­rec­tor of soc­cer Richard Gar­lick.

Al­bion’s con­trol­ling Chi­nese share­holder Lai Guochuan, which took over the club in July 2016, wants to grow the club’s pro­file in his home­land.

“There is no doubt there are com­mer­cial ben­e­fits with the deal, but the pri­mary tar­get is to help de­velop one of the best young play­ers in a boom­ing cor­ner of the football in­dus­try,’ added Gar­lick.

“His progress will be the sub­ject of great in­ter­est here at Al­bion but also in Germany and in China.”

Zhang be­gan his ca­reer with Hangzhou Green­town in China, sign­ing with Vitesse in the sum­mer of 2015.

He made his first-team de­but in Fe­bru­ary 2016 against Heeren­veen, play­ing 24 Dutch league matches in to­tal and scor­ing three goals.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016 he be­came the first Chi­nese player to score in the Ere­di­visie, the top divi­sion in the Nether­lands, net­ting his his­toric goal, which proved to be the match win­ner, as an 88th-minute sub­sti­tute in in­jury time.

Zhang has won nine caps for China, bag­ging a brace in his in­ter­na­tional de­but against Trinidad and Tobago in June last year.

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