Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato has signed with Tianjin Quanjian to become the latest major acquisition by the Chinese Super League.
Alexandre Pato posted on Twitter that he was “very happy” to join Quanjian from Spanish club Villarreal. Tianjin did not immediately confirm a report in Chinese state media that his transfer fee was 18 million euros ($19.3 million).
Estou muito feliz de fazer parte dessa nova família Tianjin Quanjian. @fabiocannavaroofficial 👊🇨🇳🇧🇷🇮🇹 andiamo Mister! pic.twitter.com/lbRTfAcv0Z— PATO (@AlexandrePato) January 30, 2017
The 27-year-old Pato scored six goals in 24 appearances for Villarreal after playing just twice during a disappointing loan spell at English giants Chelsea. He has been in and out of Villarreal’s starting lineup amid rumors of a transfer to China.
Quanjian, promoted to China’s Super League after winning the second tier last year, also acquired Belgium’s Axel Witsel this month and is coached by former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro.
Other prominent players lured to China include Brazilians Hulk, Oscar, Ramires and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentines Ezequiel Lavezzi and Carlos Tevez.
China has spent heavily to bring in international stars and build up its football infrastructure at all age levels, with the stated goal of producing a national team capable of winning the World Cup by 2050. The big contracts handed out by its clubs have raised some alarm among major European clubs that previously had no rival in signing the world’s top talent.