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Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 11:19 UK

Celtic complete capture of Zheng

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Chinese captain unveiled by Celtic

Celtic have completed the signing of Zheng Zhi with manager Tony Mowbray denying that it was merely a way of marketing the club in the Far East.

The China captain was paraded at Celtic Park on Friday after signing a one-year contract with a one-year option.

"It was a totally footballing decision," Mowbray said.

"We were looking for a midfield player, basically. We lost Paul Hartley and Shunsuke Nakamura and we needed some footballers in that area of the pitch."

Nakamura helped promote the name of Celtic in Japan before he left in the summer, but Mowbray stressed that Zheng was not seen as filling a gap in the club's off-field activities.

"I tried to sign him for West Brom so he has an understanding that I respect him as a player," said the man who moved from the Hawthorns during the summer.

I can play a few positions, but it is up to my coach

Celtic midfielder Zheng Zhi

"His versatility is one of the main reasons he is here.

"He played against my West Brom team for Charlton and he was the most effective playing behind a striker or as a holding midfielder, or as a wide player.

"He's just a good footballer and I've said from day one that I like good footballers."

The 29-year-old decided to leave Charlton when his contract expired in June following their relegation to League One.

Zheng had become the first Chinese player to represent the Addicks when he played 12 games on loan for the club in the Premier League in 2006/07.

After signing a permanent deal from Shandong Luneng for an initial £1.25m, he scored nine goals in Charlton's first campaign in the Championship.

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Speaking through an interpreter on his arrival at Celtic Park, he said: "It is a huge football club and I am delighted to be here and I am looking forward to working with my coach.

"I can play a few positions, but it is up to my coach."

Zheng was granted a work permit earlier this month but will not play in Celtic's Europa League group games as he failed to make the signing deadline.



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see also
Celtic secure Zheng work permit
04 Sep 09 |  Celtic
Midfielder Zheng leaves Charlton
08 Jul 09 |  Charlton


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