Tianjin Jinmen Tiger being proactive in this winter transfer window

 


Less than a year ago, the future of professional football in Tianjin looked under threat due to the forcefully implemented neutral naming policy. Now, in 2022, it looks like the club are set to build for a brighter future at a surprisingly progressive pace.

Tianjin Taking Proactive Approach

Having operated under the Tianjin TEDA name for 23 years, the club was forced into a rebranding that almost saw it join the likes of Jiangsu FC (formerly Suning) in potentially folding due to a lack of financial support. However, the club were able to play throughout the 2021 Chinese Super League season.

The squad had been decimated by the uncertainty around the club's future, and after being approved to remain in the league at the eleventh hour, they were firm favourites to suffer relegation. 

What followed for the club was unsurprising, at first, with poor results coming the form of 6-1 and 5-0 losses to Shanghai Port and a 4-1 loss to last year's surprise outfit Changchun Yatai. Shock victories against Wuhan FC (2-1) and Beijing Guoan (3-1) helped keep the team off rock bottom, but an inevitable trip to the relegation round awaited.

Fast forward to January 2022 and Tianjin were able to pull off an impressive turnaround of results towards the end of the campaign and finished 12th place in the Chinese Super League standings - avoiding even a relegation playoff match and securing their immediate future in the top tier of Chinese football.

With this opportunity to continue building, it appears as if the club are taking a proactive approach to their dealings in the January transfer window and have already locked up their first signing, with reports of another incoming player emerging.

Ba Dun, who can seemingly operate anywhere in midfield or in attack, has officially joined the club on a permanent transfer after spending the 2021 campaign on loan from Beijing Guoan.

The 26-year-old Yantai, Shandong native featured 20 times for Jinmen Tiger, scoring two goals and providing a further two assists in arguably the best season of his professional career to date. His efforts saw him earn his first cap with the Chinese national team, in a 1-1 draw with Australia back in November, and he looks set to play a feature role for the team moving forward.

With Ba Dun locked up, reports have emerged that link Tianjin with a move for Real Zaragoza winger Sergio Bermejo this window. The 24-year-old Madrid native would provide the club with another import player after having Jules Iloki and Marko Vejinović last term.

Bermejo has predominantly played his football in the second and third tier of Spanish football, spending the past two years with Zaragoza - scoring two goals and providing five assists in 58 league appearances. 

While this may not be up to the same level as some imports seen in the Chinese Super League in recent years, the fact that the club is reportedly actively working to sign players, both internationally and domestically, should be viewed as a positive sign after the uncertainty faced by the team and its fans less than 12 months ago.

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