After finishing quarantine, Aaron Mooy is ready to start the next phase of his career on Tuesday as his new club Shanghai SIPG take on Wuhan Zali in the Chinese Super League.
The Australian international shocked fans at Brighton and Hove Albion and back home in August by leaving the Premier League team and heading to China in a deal reported to be worth around $6 million.
Upon his arrival in Shanghai, the Socceroo, who played almost 100 games in the English Premier League for Huddersfield Town and Brighton, had to spend 14 days in quarantine but is now officially fit and raring to go.
"I'm very excited about the new challenge in my life," said Mooy. "Some friends of mine have played in Chinese leagues before, and they have said great things about China. I can't wait to train with the team and help the club reach its goal for the season.
"The Chinese league is trying to grow, much like the Australian league. It's a big club that I'm joining. The team wants to play attractive football. As a midfielder, I'd like to get involved in passing, tackling, as much as possible... My personal goal is to win titles with the team."
Mooy arrived in the city of Suzhou at the weekend, one of two ‘hubs’ being used in this season’s coronavirus-hit Chinese Super League and according to officials at the club, should play his first game for the club against Wuhan Zali.
The 29-year-old met up with his team-mates, including Brazilian stars Oscar and Hulk as well as Marko Arnautovic, at the weekend and is looking forward to getting to know everyone at the 2018 Chinese champions.
“I am very happy to meet everyone and am ready to help the club achieve its goals in the future,” Mooy said.
Shanghai SIPG's ambitious chairman Zhang Min had some words of advice for the new signing.
“As he said, he has had many friends who have played in China,” said Zhang. “I only want to give him some advice and that is to say while the English Premier League and the Chinese Super League are different, they do have one thing in common: they both require hard work.”
“We are looking forward to seeing Mooy play for us and to contributing to Chinese football,” Zhang added.
Shanghai are currently on top of Group B in the Chinese Super League, which has been divided into two groups of eight in a bid to finish a season that was delayed by five months due to the onset of coronavirus and will progress to the championship play-offs due to be held in October.
With each Chinese club allotted one foreign player slot reserved for Asian Football Confederation member nations, Mooy’s arrival has resulted in the departure of Odil Ahmedov. The Uzbekistan midfielder has joined Tianjin Teda.