bundesliga.com helps you get to know him better with ten interesting facts about the new man set to grace the Bundesliga stage...
Attacking midfielder Zhang becomes the first Chinese player to represent Wolfsburg. Sporting director at the northern giants, Klaus Allofs (pictured), has described Zhang as an "interesting" player, adding that having a Chinese star turn out for the Wolves would be "ideal". "He would fit into the whole philosophy, with Volkswagen as our main partners," continued Allofs. "Zhang also has the potential to be competitive in our squad."
Take a quick glance at his goalscoring record in China and it seems fair to say that Zhang will certainly be competing for a place, despite the strength of the Wolves' star-studded ensemble. Between 2010 and 2014 in the colours of Beijing Guoan, the 23-year-old netted 24 times in 115 league appearances and provided an impressive 29 assists. During the 2014 season alone, Zhang scored six goals in 29 Chinese Super League appearances, and played in the AFC Champions League.
Zhang's rise to international prominence has long been prophesied. He picked up the Chinese Football Association Young Player of the Year Award in 2012 and followed up that honour with a fantastic 2012/13 campaign scoring 11 league goals as Beijing Guoan finished the season in third and qualified for the Asian Champions League. His best performance of that campaign came in a 6-0 win over Guangzhou R&F, a game in which Zhang netted a brilliant hat-trick.
The Wuhan native is set to become the tenth Chinese player to play in the top two German divisions, and he will be the first since Hao Junmin (pictured) in 2011, who won the DFB Cup with FC Schalke 04 in 2011. With the low number of Chinese players in Germany, Zhang's is an exotic transfer, and one that the Wolves were determined to push through. "There are not many Chinese players in the Bundesliga. This is something new, it would also be something of a trial," said Allofs.
Zhang hails from Wuhan, a city between the Yangtze and the Han rivers, and the capital of Hubei province. With over ten million people, Wuhan is the most populous city in central China and due to its location, serves as an important trading port. Indeed, because of its importance to transport in China, it is sometimes referred to as the 'Chicago' of the country, and, interestingly, Junmin, the last Chinese Bundesliga star, also came from Wuhan.
Wuhan, however, is a long way from Wolfsburg and Zhang recognises the importance of immersing himself in local culture. "I have been in contact with Wolfsburg for more than a year now and I've started to learn German." His German wasn't quite at the required standard when Wolfsburg declared their interest, but Zhang has now signed with Thomas Kroth's agency Pro Profil GmbH, who represent several of the Bundesliga's far-eastern stars.
It has been a long road to the Bundesliga for Zhang. He made his debut for Beijing Guoan on 30 August 2009 in a Chinese Super League match against Shandong Luneng, having started his career at the Beijing Black Horse club in 2006. In 2010, however, Zhang was sent to play for Guoan's satellite team, Beijing Guoan Talent, in the Singapore S. League, where he scored twice in five appearances before returning to China's capital ahead of the 2011 campaign.
Zhang's displays in the 2011 season brought him international recognition, and he won his first cap for China in a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica on 27 March 2011. Later that year, he scored his first international goal as China routed Singapore 6-1, and on 5 March 2014, he scored his second in a 3-1 loss to Iraq in a qualifying match for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup (to be held in Australia). The result condemned China to finish third in Group C, meaning they were handed a tricky group with Korea DPR, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.
The talented midfielder has hardly been short of suitors after his impressive displays in the Chinese Super League. Scottish champions Celtic FC were one of several big European clubs to show plenty of interest - Celtic's Peter Lawwell scouted the player in 2013, commenting "He is a phenomenal player" - but ultimately, the pull of the Bundesliga, and high-flying Wolfsburg, proved too tough to resist, with Zhang citing that he has been in contact with the club for "more than a year".
Zhang's playing style looks tailor-made for the Bundesliga. A right-footed attacker, his performances over the past few seasons show he possesses a keen eye for goal. Capable of scoring from anywhere, as well as a proficient penalty-taker, Zhang will bring an additional dose of creativity and menace to the Wolves' attacking line-up. The 23-year-old's skilful feet allow him to play on the wing, but he is most comfortable in the centre, where his clever late movement into the box brings plenty of goals.