Ex-Arsenal player takes Chinese citizenship in landmark move | Inquirer Sports
Close  

Ex-Arsenal player takes Chinese citizenship in landmark move

/ 11:17 AM February 01, 2019

(L-R) Arsenal’s French midfielder Francis Coquelin, Arsenal’s German defender Per Mertesacker and Arsenal’s defender Nico Yennaris celebrate after their team scored the 0-1 during the football friendly match 1. FC Koeln vs. FC Arsenal London in Cologne, western Germany, on August 12, 2012. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo by DANIEL ROLAND / AFP)

A London-born former England youth international signed for Beijing Guoan on Thursday and will take Chinese citizenship, in a landmark move for Chinese football.

Ex-Arsenal player Nico Yennaris arrived from English second-tier side Brentford and was joined at Guoan by fellow midfielder John Hou Saeter, who was born in Norway.

ADVERTISEMENT

The duo — both of whom have Chinese mothers — are set to become China’s first naturalized footballers “after all the formalities are completed”, Guoan said.

The capital club, who won last season’s Chinese FA Cup under German coach Roger Schmidt, said they hope the two players will go on to represent China.

FEATURED STORIES

The 25-year-old Yennaris, who has taken the Chinese name Li Ke, tweeted: “I’m delighted to announce I’ve signed for Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC as a Chinese citizen.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for me to play in the birth country of my mother and grandparents.”

Saeter, 21, who will use his Chinese name Hou Yongyong, moves from Stabaek in Norway’s top league.

By naturalizing both men, Guoan can field them as domestic players instead of overseas ones.

Chinese Super League teams are restricted to a maximum of three foreign players on the pitch at the same time.

The pair’s switch to Chinese could also be a boon to the struggling national side, who badly need quality reinforcements.

Yennaris has represented England at under-17, under-18 and under-19, and Saeter played for Norway in several age groups.

However, that would not stop them playing for China because they did not represent the countries of their birth as senior internationals.

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Chinese
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.