Shanghai Shenhua continued his off-season acquisitions ahead of the 2020 Chinese Super League season, with forward Yang Xu the latest to sign with the club.
The 32-year-old China international was a free agent after Tianjin Tianhai’s recent collapse, allowing him to join any club with no transfer fees.
Yang had been training with Shenhua in recent weeks, so it was only a matter of time before the Dalian native’s move was made official.
Since his debut at Liaoning FC in 2005, Yang Xu has been a constant presence in Chinese football, scoring 100 goals in 352 professional games.
He was also one of the most consistent players for the Chinese national team, scoring 28 goals in 54 appearances for his country.
With players like Obafemi Martins and Kim Shin-wook already on the books for Shenhua, Yang is likely to be used in a substitute role and could be used regularly in matches where the opposition can only field two importing players.
While his best days are probably behind, having also had spells in Shandong Luneng and Changchun Yatai, it will be a luxury for Shanghai Shenhua to have a Chinese player capable of scoring eight or nine goals per season.
One question that Yang Xu’s signing raises is whether the limit of “ surplus ” domestic players still counts for the 2020 season, with Shanghai Shenhua already blocking players like Zeng Cheng (33), Zhu Baojie (30), Feng Xiaoting (34), Zhao Mingjian (32) and Qin Sheng (33).
Typically, teams are only allowed five domestic signings over 23 per season. With Shenhua having secured at least six signings so far, it raises questions about whether or not the teams can continue to sign players for the new season, with the new transfer window arrangements.
For Shanghai Shenhua, he sees them once again signing a player over 30, adding more experience and very little youth to a team that finished 13th in the Chinese Super League before winning the FA Cup of China and ” ensure continental football in 2020.