BEIJING (AP) — Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato has signed with Tianjin Quanjian, the latest major acquisition by the Chinese Super League.
Pato posted on Twitter Monday that he was “very happy” to join Quanjian from Spanish club Villarreal. Tianjin did not immediately confirm a report in Chinese state media that his transfer fee was 18 million euros ($19.3 million).
The 27-year-old Pato scored six goals in 24 appearances for Villarreal after playing just twice during a disappointing loan spell at English giants Chelsea. He has been in and out of Villarreal’s starting lineup amid rumors of a transfer to China.
Quanjian, promoted to China’s Super League after winning the second tier last year, also acquired Belgium’s Axel Witsel this month and is coached by former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro.
Other prominent players lured to China include Brazilians Hulk, Oscar, Ramires and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentines Ezequiel Lavezzi and Carlos Tevez.
China has spent heavily to bring in international stars and build up its football infrastructure at all age levels, with the…