8 Summer Signings That Made Their Mark

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: With the transfer window now open in many countries, clubs across Asia will be looking to strengthen ahead of the second half of the year, none more so than those still in the hunt for AFC Champions League and AFC Cup glory. 

Eight clubs remain in contention for the AFC Champions League, while a further seven are looking to lift the AFC Cup. With the continent's two biggest club competitions to resume in August, takes a look at some summer signings who have helped deliver success so soon after joining.

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Paulinho (Gunagzhou Evergrande - 2015)

Paulinho joined Guangzhou Evergrande from Tottenham Hotspur in June of 2015 and scored a stunning 35-yard free-kick against Kashiwa Reysol on his AFC Champions League debut in the quarter-finals. Two months later he was lifting the continental trophy and, before long, back in the Brazil squad.

Brazilian midfielder @paulinhop8 signs for @GZEvergrandeFC. We wish him luck and hope to see him soon in #ACL2015

— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) June 29, 2015

Lima (Al Ahli - 2015)

Also in the summer of 2015, Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates signed Lima from Portuguese giants Benfica. The Brazilian striker scored in each leg of the quarter- and semi-finals, but narrowly missed out on the AFC Champions League title after a 1-0 aggregate defeat to Guangzhou Evergrande in the final.

Leandro Velazquez (Johor Darul Ta'zim - 2015)

Valazquez had a brief but successful stint at Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, making his AFC Cup debut in August 2015. Having not scored in the quarter- and semi-finals, the Argentine then netted the most important goal in the club’s history in the 1-0 victory over Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol in the final.

Danijel Subotic (Qadsia SC - 2014)

Swapping Azerbaijan for Kuwait in July 2014, Subotic helped end Qadsia SC’s AFC Cup heartache after two final defeats in the past four years. The Swiss forward (left) netted three goals en route to the final before scoring the winning spot kick in the penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw with Iraq’s Erbil.

Alkhaldi saved the vital penalty, and Subotic converts the final spot kick to crown Qadsia as #AFCCup2014 Champions!

— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) October 18, 2014

Rafinha (Ulsan Hyundai - 2012)

The Brazilian joined Ulsan Hyundai just as momentum was building in 2012. The Korea Republic side's four wins in a row on the continent became a record nine and Rafinha netted in four of the five AFC Champions League games in which he played, including one in the final as Ulsan beat Al Ahli 3-0.

Mamadou Niang (Al Sadd - 2011)

Former Senegal international Niang won league titles with Marseilles and Fenerbache before moving to Al Sadd in the summer of 2011. Needing a goalscorer, the then 31-year-old fit the bill perfectly as he netted in the quarter-and semi-finals as well as from the spot in the penalty shootout victory over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the final.

Mohamed Kallon (Al Ittihad - 2005)

Former Inter and Monaco striker Kallon joined Al Ittihad on loan in mid-2005 and, after reaching the AFC Champions League final, the Sierra Leone forward scored from the spot in the 1-1 first leg draw with Al Ain. He then opened the scoring in the 4-2 second leg victory as the Saudi side were crowned champions and Kallon the top scorer

Takafumi Hori (Urawa Red Diamonds - 2017)

Perhaps not a signing, but after sacking Mihailo Petrovic in July 2017, Urawa Red Diamonds promoted from within. It proved a shrewd move as Hori promptly guided the Saitama side to their second AFC Champions League title after wins over Kawasaki Frontale, Shanghai SIPG and, in the final, Al Hilal.

Photos: Getty Images

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