Cedric Bakambu is set to become the most expensive African footballer of all time after Beijing Guoan agreed to meet Villarreal’s release clause.
The Spanish club set the clause at 40m euros (£35.3m) for the Chinese Super League-bound DR Congo striker.
But the total fee will be around £65m because of taxation rules that have recently been introduced in China.
“Villareal informs that the release clause of its player Cedric Bakambu has been activated, meaning he no longer belongs to the squad,” the La Liga side said in a statement (in Spanish) on Wednesday evening.
“The club wants to thank the footballer for his commitment and professionalism, and wishes him the best in his sporting career.”
Bakambu, 26, has had a medical with Beijing Guoan who, like all Chinese Super League clubs, are now subject to a transfer tax for any fee over 5m euros.
The laws were introduced in a bid to encourage clubs to buy China-based players and keep more money inside the country.
The former Sochaux and Bursaspor forward is Villarreal’s top scorer this season, with 14 goals in all competitions for the Spanish side.
Bakambu became the first African player to win La Liga’s Player of the Month award after scoring six of those goals in October.
The previous Chinese record was £60m, which Shanghai SIPG paid to sign Brazil international Oscar from Chelsea last January.
Keita will join Liverpool in July from German club RB Leipzig after the Premier League side agreed a deal for the Guinea international last summer.