Congolese international and Villarreal striker, Cedric Bakambu, is about to become Africa’s most expensive player following a recent move to Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan.
Born in France to parents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the 26-year-old’s football career started with Ivry from the USA.
The young player’s promising performance earned him attention from scouts from various training centers. At 15, Bakambu’s parents let him sign a deal with FC Sochaux-Montbéliard managers for the youth system.
He also played for the youth teams of the French national team. As a French youth international Bakambu represented the country at both under-18 and under-19 levels but chose to represent Congo at 21.
In 2014, Bakambu signed a four-year transfer deal with Turkey’s Bursaspor for a fee of €1.8 million and an annual salary of €800,000. But in August the next year, after netting 13 times in 27 appearances for Bursaspor, Spanish side Villarreal CF announced a five-year contract signing of Bakambu.
Bakambu, who has scored 48 goals in 105 games for Villarreal attracted attention from Beijing Guoan and a host of English top-flight clubs after his impressive form for the Yellow Submarine.
Clubs like Newcastle, West Ham, and Paris Saint-Germain were reported to have made bids for the hotshot but Bakambu turned down those options to sign a bumper £16 million-a-year contract in China’s capital city.
Villarreal is set to make a huge profit on Bakambu after signing him for just £6.5m. Beijing Guoan has not only agreed to pay the £35 million release clause for the Congolese striker but also all the imposed tax on the player to their country’s football association – which will total around 30 million.
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 who will earn £18 million every year at Beijing Guoan, will be better off in China and become the most expensive African player of all time ahead of Liverpool’s £39 million man 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.