Brazil international forward Hulk completed his transfer from Zenit Saint Petersburg to Shanghai SIPG on Thursday.
Zenit confirmed the deal on their official website and noted the fee for the 29-year-old is a whopping €55.8 million (£46.1 million) plus potential additional costs. That sum is a record for the Chinese Super League, surpassing the £38 million Jiangsu Suning paid Shakhtar Donetsk for Alex Teixeira in February.
Bleacher Report UK posted the following once the deal was announced:
It’s a staggering amount of money for a player who has enjoyed a solid, if not spectacular, time of things in Russia and is arguably a little past his best. Here is a look at what Hulk is capable of:
Squawka Football provided a statistical summation of what Shanghai are getting for their money:
The Brazilian rose to prominence during his time with FC Porto, helping the team to three league titles and a UEFA Europa League win. He was typically deployed on the right and produced quite a highlight reel, primarily because of the thunderous way he'd strike the ball with his left foot.
With Zenit, he won one league title, but the club never made the big impression Hulk likely hoped for in the UEFA Champions League, even despite his best efforts in his final season, per OptaJoe:
Now, he heads to China to embark on a new challenge in a division on the rise. Players such as Teixeira, former Chelsea man Ramires and ex-Atletico Madrid forward Jackson Martinez have already made their moves to the league, so Hulk will be coming up against familiar names.
It’ll be interesting to see what the switch does for the player’s international chances, as the standard does not yet compare to elite European leagues. Hulk has represented Brazil on 48 occasions, scoring 12 goals.
Despite some achievements, sportswriter Jonas Giaever doesn’t feel as though Hulk has lived up to the early potential he showed in Portugal:
The move represents a fascinating new chapter in a league that’s making rapid progress. Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is in charge of the Shanghai side, and he’ll know how to get the best out of his new recruit.
However, the switch could well see Hulk’s career peter out. Occasionally, the Brazilian has lit up the Champions League, and it's still evident he has the quality to make an impression at the highest level. That's not something he'll be doing anymore after this transfer, with the Chinese Super League still a work in progress.