Is this the weirdest Chinese Super League transfer yet?
Dragan Stojkovic’s Guangzhou R&F have made a bizarre transfer move, adding a goalkeeper from the Scottish second-tier to their books ahead of the new season
A Chinese Super League club has made the most unusual signing of the transfer window so far – bringing in a goalkeeper from the Scottish Championship!
Andy McNeil was on the books with a second-tier Scottish team, but has revealed he is leaving Greenock Morton to take up a position as a coach with Guangzhou R&F.
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The Blue Lions came sixth in the Super League last season, and are managed by former Marseille and Yugoslavia midfielder Dragan Stojkovic.
McNeil will not be eligible to play for Guangzhou due to the rule that forbids non-Chinese goalkeepers from being fielded in the CSL, a restriction which has been in place since 2001.
“I’ve left Morton now. Basically, I had the opportunity to go and work as the reserve goalkeeping coach for a team in China, Guangzhou R&F, which wasn’t something I expected; it came out of the blue,” the 29-year-old told the club’s official website.
“I do some goalkeeping coaching for Edusport Academy, run by Chris Ewing, and a representative from Guangzhou R&F got in touch with Chris looking for someone to work with their goalkeepers. He phoned me and said I should have a listen.”
The former Hibernian and Livingston goalkeeper had been in impressive form for Morton this season, keeping six clean sheets in 14 appearances, but admits that he could not turn down the opportunity to move to the league which has recently signed Carlos Tevez and Oscar on mega-money deals.
“I spoke to the manager about it and he obviously wanted me to stay at the club, but he also recognised it was a unique and pretty good opportunity,” McNeil continued.
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“He was very, very good about it and he just said I should do what ever I wanted to do. If I wanted to stay, he would be delighted to keep me at the club because I had played quite a few games in the first half of the season.
“But he also completely understood and said that if I wanted to go and take on this opportunity, he was more than happy to support that as well, which was great. It’s not going to be easy but I’m really excited to go there and get started.”