French-born Congolese international footballer Cedric Bakambu is about to become the most expensive African player ever following his proposed move to Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan.
Here is all you need to know about the almost former Villareal striker.
Cedric Bakambu was born in Vitry-sur-Seine, a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, France, on the 11th of April, 1991, to parents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He started his footballing career at the age of 10 with local league club US Ivry where he spent four years. The young player’s promising performances earned him attention from scouts from various other big clubs. At 15, Bakambu’s parents let him sign a deal with FC Sochaux-Montbéliard for the youth side.
He rose up the ranks in the team with his outstanding performances before making his professional debut on 7 August 2010. He came on as a substitute in the 83rd-minute for Modibo Maïga in Sochaux’s opening match of the Ligue 1 season against Arles-Avignon.
A month later, he signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal with the club until June 2013. During this time, he also played for both the under-18 and under-19 youth teams of the French national team. He, however, opted to represent Congo at the senior international level.
Bakambu’s first professional goal was scored on the 17th of September 2011 in a 2–2 draw at Lille OSC. In the 2013-14 season, he managed only seven goals in 31 appearances which culminated in Sochaux’s relegation.
Cedric Bakambu Football Career
Following the relegation, Bakambu left France for the first time to join Turkey’s Bursaspor for a fee of €1.8 million. He signed a four-year deal with the club, earning an annual salary of €800,000.
It was in Turkey that he star began to shine, netting 21 times in 39 appearances for Bursaspor in all competitions. His tally put high-flying European teams on alert and after just one season in Turkey, Spanish side Villarreal CF came calling.
Cedric Bakambu signed a five-year contract with the Yellow Submarines in August 2015. He scored two goals on his second appearance for the team which was as a substitute. He managed a total of 48 goals in 105 games for Villarreal and was also named the La Liga Player of the Month for the month of October 2017.
His profile continued to rise as many clubs tried to sign the player. English Premier League sides like Newcastle and West Ham, as well as Arab oil-owned Paris Saint-Germain, was reported to have made bids for the hotshot. High-paying Chinese Super League side, Beijing Guoan, however, won his signature with a bumper £16 million-a-year contract. The Chinese capital city based club reportedly paid £35 million for the Congolese striker and also all the imposed tax on the player to their country’s football association – which will total around 30 million.
Villarreal made a huge profit on Bakambu after signing him for just £6.5m.
It is reported that Bakambu has already undergone his medical with the £65m deal but the club is awaiting formalities of the transfer for the player to be presented.
Ahead of the final formalities by both clubs, Bakambu who is probably where he thought he would never be in his career, expressed mixed feelings about his move to China.
“It’s all closed, almost everything has been done. Now I’m waiting for the two clubs to resolve things and that’ll be it.
“Things change really quickly, but I’ve had this offer for a while and I didn’t want to say anything to anyone. I’m both happy and sad at the same time, a bit of both. But this is the life of a footballer.
“This is an opportunity that’s going to change my life, I know it. But it’s not easy to make a decision. I’ve spoken a lot with my family and in the end, we took this decision, I think it’s for the best,” he told AS.
When it becomes official, Bakambu will earn £18 million every year at Beijing Guoan. He will surely be better off in China and become the most expensive African player of all time ahead of Liverpool’s £39 million Egyptian, Mohamed Salah.
Bakambu will also become Chinese super league’s third-highest earner as Beijing Guoan’s huge offer has shown that China is ready to battle top European leagues for fresh talent.