Adelaide’s Yongbin Chen experiment a failure

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Adelaide United’s Chinese visa player Yongbin Chen only managed three appearances off the bench in the Y-League and with an A-league debut unlikely, it appears his signing has been a failure.

Chen, 20, joined from the Reds sister club Qindao Red Lions after he was announced in October last year and arrived some two months later.

Since then, he failed to make a start for the Y-League team – only appearing three times for a combined total of 36 minutes.

With the NPL season about to commence, Adelaide was hopeful of registering the midfielder for their reserves team, but an FFA rule stating visa players are not allowed to play in the NPL has closed that book.

It now seems he will not feature in an Adelaide shirt again as he is unlikely to displace the likes of Riley McGree, Stefan Mauk, James Troisi, Mirko Boland and Louis D’arrigo in the A-League squad.

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Chen’s only meaningful contribution could turn out to be the yellow card he received in a 4-2 win against Perth Glory in Round 7 of the Y-League. Or in fact, the linesman duties he performed after being subbed off in a third team match.

Y-League coach Paul Pezos became the youngster’s designated driver for home matches and training.

He stated that communication was the biggest issue for Chen – which was not helped by his translator departing after two weeks.

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So far, Chen has not been able to make the step up to join the A-League squad which again raises further questions over Chairman Piet Van Der Pol’s decision to sign him in the first place.

Many fans previously questioned the decision to sign a player whose name turned up precisely nothing on Google and one who had never trained with a professional squad.

At the beginning of this experiment, Van Der Pol explained Chen’s arrival would attract a flurry of Chinese media attention and give the club a stronger foothold in the lucrative Asian football market, but there has been nothing on those fronts.

The Reds chairman even said television stations had inquired about covering Chen’s A-League adventure, but with three Y-League appearances, 36 minutes played and one linesman cameo – where are those television stations now?

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The signing was clearly a cost-saving measure by the Reds to free up funds for the likes of James Troisi, but the argument has to be made that the resources could have been better used elsewhere.

With the signing of a Chinese player set to be an annual experiment by Adelaide’s owners, they need to seriously consider if it has the potential to be beneficial in its current context.

Feature image credit: Adelaide United

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