Shanghai SIPG signed Hulk (above) from Zenit St. Petersburg Thursday, making the Brazilian forward the first high-profile signing in what is expected to be a mega-spending transfer window in the Chinese Super League.
SIPG did not disclose 29-year-old Hulk's transfer fee, but the $60 million fee reported by Russian media would set a new Asian transfer record, topping the $56 million Jiangsu Suning paid this year for Brazilian Alex Teixeira. Guangzhou Evergrande paid $47 million for Colombia's Jackson Martinez. Large Chinese conglomerates have snapped up domestic clubs in recent years, giving them dramatically increased spending power. In the past year, Chinese teams spent more than $300 million to recruit stars from the European leagues such as Ezequiel Lavezzi and Ramires, spurring talk of an unsustainable bubble. Shanghai will reportedly pay Hulk $22 million annually, double what his compatriot Neymar, the Brazil captain, makes at Barcelona.
Hulk passed a medical examination at a Shanghai clinic on Wednesday after he was greeted by hundreds of fans at Shanghai's airport. He will join a squad led by former England manager Sven-Goran Ericksson, who is under pressure to improve results after falling 12 points behind league leader Guangzhou Evergrande. Hulk, a left-footed striker known for his muscular build and powerful shot, joined Zenit in 2012 from Porto.