We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast of campaigns, scandals, and destroying football... to bring you news of a more light-hearted variety.
You may remember one of the more hilarious stories from this past summer, the completely random, and, looking back now, quite possibly fictional story about Chinese defender Zhang Linpeng claiming that he had received a "formal invitation" to join Chelsea. But then his club, Guangzhou Evergrande wanted some playing time guarantees, and despite all of Zhang's Weibo bravado, the move never came off.
Zhangmos, nicknamed thusly in loving tribute to Sergio Ramos, has apparently remained undeterred in his pursuit of the European dream. In fact, he's set his sights even higher. Attaboy! If Chelsea won't take him, he'll go to Real Madrid instead. BOOM! SUPERNOVABOOM!
Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zhang Linpeng will be loaned out to Spain's Real Madrid for free during the winter transfer window as part of the two clubs' cooperation.
Evergrande president Xu Jiayin is in Madrid this week to meet Real president Florentino Perez Rodriguez. The Chinese Super League defending champion is said to have reached a "strategic cooperation" with the La Liga powerhouse. Though no details of the cooperation have been revealed, the two sides were said to be keen on player exchange.
-source: Shanghai Daily
With Rafa Benitez already doing his best to alienate his own squad — i.e. getting the media treatment that Mourinho was afforded, just a few seasons sooner — he'll be happy to know that reinforcements from China are already on their way. La Liga title, assured. Buzz off, Cristiano.
Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News reported yesterday that Zhang had confirmed the loan deal.
"The loan will be arranged by the club. I just know that it's already decided and there is lots of work left to be done. I believe the club will handle it well," the 26-year-old right back said.
Under the cooperation deal with Real, Evergrande hopes it can send two to three players on loan to Madrid every year, while Real players can also move in the opposite direction.
-source: Shanghai Daily
El. Oh. El.
There's an additional Chelsea angle to this story, too, and that's regarding Real Madrid right back Dani Carvajal, who's been linked with the Blues recently by various tabloids and website of ill repute. It's a useless story that started at TuttoMercatoWeb, went to Caught Offside, then to Bernabeu Digital (whatever that is), then to the likes of the Express and so on and so forth. So, basically, nothing to take seriously, even though it's still percolating in various circles.
But, just in case the tiny-tiny percentage of a chance that there's something to this turns out to be actually true, our pursuit can be boosted by Carvajal having the same reaction as the rest of us when quizzed about China. Except then he denies any transfer whatsoever, but just go with it. Don't ask too many questions. You wouldn't want further retrospective action now, would you? I didn't think so.
"I read that in China was said that there could be an exchange with a Chinese right-back. And my first reaction was laughing at it. It's a funny story, but not true. This is my home and I'm very happy here."
-Dani Carvajal; source: FourFourTwo
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming of Diego Costa eating babies and kicking puppies and destroying childrens' dreams.