Gael Kakuta has left Hebei China Fortune to join Deportivo La Coruna’s LaLiga relegation fight in the wake of new Chinese Super League regulations relating to how many overseas players teams can include.
The 25-year-old French winger has agreed a switch on loan to the Riazor until the end of this season.
Former Chelsea youngster Kakuta has previous experience in Spain’s top flight via spells at Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla and he joins a Deportivo side lying 15th – six points above the bottom three, although they are unbeaten in their past six matches across all competitions.
Kakuta joined Hebei last year having made only five first-team appearances for Sevilla during an injury plagued half-season, scoring once.
He played 24 times and netted twice in his debut CSL campaign but leaves a competition that has experienced a high-profile influx of foreign talent on big wages – a phenomenon that prompted the Chinese Football Association (CFA) to act earlier this week.
Having seen the likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar and Axel Witsel move to secure huge pay packets, the CFA hit out at “irrational” investments by clubs and altered its rules in a way designed to encourage the development of domestic talent.
In 2017, clubs will be able to name five foreign players in their matchday 18, with only three on the field at any one time. There must be two under-23 players selected in the squad, with at least one of the homegrown duo in the starting XI.
Last season, CSL clubs operated under the “four plus one” quota, where five foreign players were allowed in the squad, with one of those from another country within the Asian Football Confederation. The Asian player quota has been abolished under the new regulations.
Kakuta’s departure means Hebei coach Manuel Pellegrini has five overseas players at his disposal – former Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain star Ezequiel Lavezzi, Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, Cameroon midfielder Stephane Mbia, Brazilian striker Aloisio and Turkish centre-back Ersan Gulum.
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