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  China's Zheng joins Charlton  

  

 

Shandong Luneng's Zheng Zhi will join the English Premier League's Charlton on loan, said both clubs on Friday.

Charlton signed a contract for the 26-year-old midfielder of China's league champions from January 1 to May 20. The deal includes an option to sign Zheng.

"We will discuss Zheng's transfer after the current contract expires," said Han Gongzheng, deputy manager of Luneng.

"Zheng is one of the best players in China and played a key role in our 2006 wins (league champions and Cup champions)," Han said. "But joining the English Premier League is a great chance for his career."

Neither side gave the specific value of the deal.

Signing Zheng was Alan Pardew's first move as the new manager of Charlton's Addicks.

Zheng, who can play either defence or midfield, enjoyed a much-publicised but brief trial at Charlton last month where he impressed former head coach Les Reed before heading to Qatar to represent his country's U23 side at the Asian Games.

"I hope I can have my place in one of the world's top leagues," Zheng said. "I will try my best to get a good result for the club and win respect as a Chinese player."

As a playmaker of the Chinese national team, Zheng is confident he will be able to give something fresh to the struggling club, which is now second from the bottom.

"It is a very good club and I join them with confidence," Zheng said. Zheng will be the third Chinese to play in England's top flight this season, following Manchester City's Sun Jihai and Sheffield United's Li Tie.

 

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