Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tough Man Zheng Zhi

So its Transfer Window Time and the promised wheeling and dealing has already started with the arrival of the Chinese captain Zheng Zhi. He was last here in October with Les Reed for a couple of days training and he's now been signed for a reported 300,000 squids ( in the Chinese press) till the end of the season.

There's been very little comment on the signing but it seems part of the current drive to bring in players with character and leadership skills. Hearts captain Steven Pressley decided not to come but the theme continues with the reported talks with old boy and Russian captain Alexi Smertin on a return to the Addicks.

Of Chinese star, Zheng Zhi, not a lot is known but it would appear that he's a bit of a tough nut in the same mould as Andy Todd. He managed to get himself sent off against Malaysia, and so was suspended for China's ultimately disastrous make-or-break Germany 2006 qualifier with Kuwait, but his more famous moment happened just before last year's World Cup in a friendly against France. Early on in the game he became notorious as the man whose tackle broke French striker Djibril Cisse's leg and therefore kept him out of the subsequent competition. Several video nasties on the web show the tackle in all its glory.

He's also received a six month ban in December 2005 for spitting at a match official during an Asian Champions League quarter-final tie with Al Ittihad.

But if its confidence in a player that you want Zheng Zhi's your man. He's been recently quoted as saying "I won't deny I'm the best footballer in China, but it's only in China," said Zheng, "At the moment the most important thing for me is to keep my feet in the Premier League first."

Variously defined as an attacking midfielder, it was therefore something of a surprise when, then China coach, Arie Haan chose to use him as a central defender. Zheng Zhi explains, "He watched me play when he first arrived and thought I was the sort of player he needed in the back-line. But he also noticed I was able to move the ball forward quickly and so I was often pushed up front at the latter stages of matches to help break the deadlock."

When asked in a recent interview "Which position do you prefer to play?", he relied "I believe I can play in more than one position but because of my physique I prefer midfield. I'm not that tall and not that strong but I'm fast and can dribble, qualities usually associated with midfielders".

We await his arrival with bated breath.

No comments: