July 29, 2019 / 6:37 AM / a month ago

Jiangsu sign Santini to end Bale transfer hopes

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Group Stage - Group D - Spartak Trnava v Anderlecht - Anton Malatinsky Stadium, Trnava, Slovakia - September 20, 2018 Anderlecht's Ivan Santini REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese Super League (CSL) side Jiangsu Suning have signed Croatian striker Ivan Santini whose arrival is expected to bring to an end the club’s pursuit of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.

The signing of Santini from Anderlecht, which was announced by Jiangsu on their social media outlets on Monday morning, alongside the recruitment of Brazilian defender Miranda from Inter Milan late last week means the club now have five foreign players on their books.

CSL rules allows clubs to have four overseas-born players included in their official squads at any one time and, with Italian defender Gabriel Paletta expected to depart soon, Jiangsu’s quota has been filled with the signing of Santini.

Jiangsu had been expected to sign Bale before the closure of the Chinese Super League’s transfer window on Wednesday with claims the Wales international would be paid around £1 million a week to become the latest big name arrival in Chinese football.

But reports on Sunday said Bale’s proposed move to Jiangsu had collapsed after Real’s board refused to approve his departure, with the Chinese club wanting to acquire the 30-year-old on a free transfer.

The signing of Santini means Jiangsu would have to move out either Alex Teixeira or Eder Martins to accommodate Bale but, with both integral members of coach Cosmin Olaroiu’s side, that looks unlikely.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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