Berlin: Chinese international midfielder Zhang Xizhe, whose transfer to Wolfsburg has attracted huge interest back in China, has been tipped to become the Bundesliga`s next big Asian star.
The 23-year-old, who has signed for Wolves until 2017, is set to become the fourth Chinese to play in Germany`s top flight and one of his predecessors, Shao Jiayi, insists he has all the talent to become a household name in Europe.
Shao, who made 168 appearances in Germany`s top two divisions for 1860 Munich and Energie Cottbus, is a former team-mate of Zhang at Beijing Guoan, to whom Wolfsburg paid a reported fee of 750,000 euros (US$935,167).
"On the internet, in the newspapers, you read about his transfer everywhere," Shao told Bundesliga.com from Beijing.
"Football fans here are absolutely thrilled. It`s been a good long while since a Chinese player played for a top side in a big European league. It`s massive news.
"He`s a really, really good bloke, I know him well, he`s a former colleague and a friend.
"He has a very strong will and always had the wish to transfer to a top European team.
"He asked me about the Bundesliga and I gave him positive feedback.
"Of course, the Bundesliga has a totally different class to Chinese football and it will be a big jump.
"The level in Germany is perhaps the highest in the world, but Xizhe has huge potential. He`s dynamic, has good technique and is intelligent.
"I think he has the talent, but he`ll need some time to adjust."
Zhang is likely to challenge Belgium`s Kevin de Bruyne for a place on the left wing and Shao says he is similar to Borussia Dortmund`s ex-Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa.
"Wolfsburg have lots of great players like De Bruyne and Aaron Hunt, but Xizhe is a totally different player," added Shao.
"He isn`t as physical as De Bruyne, but is just as quick and, from my point of view, he`s better.
"He`s very clever and he is very similar to Shinji Kagawa.
"He is small, mobile and doesn`t just think about attack, but works for the whole team."