What’s the deal with Adelaide’s Yongbin Chen?

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Using your fifth and final international spot on an unknown, unproven 20-year-old is certainly a brave choice by Adelaide United.

Yongbin Chen joins the Reds from sister club Qingdao Red Lions having never made a senior appearance in the third tier of Chinese football.

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There is very little about the attacking midfielder available online. What professional footballer in this day and age does not have any searchable information, or a Wikipedia page?

Throughout the preseason, the message from Director of Football Bruce Djite was the club would sign a Chinese defender from Qingdao to bolster the depleted defensive stocks.

As the transfer deadline approached, there was no defender in sight. Fans were left baffled when a squad update surfaced confirming the signing of Chen.

AUFC Squad Update Facebook Screenshot

The discreet nature and the wording of the squad update could only mean one thing – the signing stinks.

The carpet was rolled out for fellow offensive midfield James Troisi whilst Chen got conveniently swept under it.

Whenever a signing is made, especially with a visa player, the press releases will always feature comments from the player and the manager – but not in this case. The only comments made in the announcement were from club Chairman, Piet van der Pol.

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This can only lead to one question. How much involvement did the football department have? Clearly very little because they thought they were getting a defender until Chen was picked from obscurity.

Strengthening ties with Asian clubs is always beneficial but when it negatively affects your football department, you have a real problem. The relationship between the Red Lions and United is still in the infant stage and this signing seems rushed.

Arguably the signing will not bring a cent to South Australia and it again shuts the door on local NPL talent.

Having never played a senior game of football it will be unlikely Chen has sufficient time to adapt and progress enough to make an appearance in the A-league this season.

Chen’s presence as a visa player casts doubt over the perception that clubs are looking for quality over quantity. If you sign a foreign player in the A-League, they have to play an integral part on the pitch – every week.

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There is always the argument that signing an experienced international pushes local talent out of the squad but it can also help young players lift their game and have the opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge.

You can not deny the effect a quality import can have on a team. All you have to do is look around the league.

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Chen appears nothing more than a business decision and the opportunity to add quality to the squad has been placed on the backburner.

The Reds could in the long run have struck gold but right now this signing points to a football club happy with mediocrity.

Featured image credit: Adelaide United

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Euan James
Euan James
Lover of all things football. Covering Adelaide United in 2019/20 for TFS!

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