Shanghai Shenhua could be about to lose another star in the shape of captain and national team left-back Sun Xiang, the Shanghai Daily reports.
The 23-year-old is due to head west tomorrow (Sunday) for a 10-day trial with English Premier League (EPL) shock-troops Wigan Athletic, who are currently thumbing their noses at the big-boys and sitting second in the league in their debut top-flight season. Should Sun Xiang impress his English suitors then Shenhua would lose a second player to a UK club this year — defender Du Wei left Shenhua for Glasgow Celtic in September.
Before the season began, commentators said Wigan’s status in the EPL was not so much as a little fish in a big pond, more like James Bond being thrown into Goldfinger’s shark pool — they believed it was a matter of time before they went down. But the club, who this year became the 39th team to have ever played in the English Premiership, have confounded their critics and only free-spending glamour boys Chelsea sit above them at present.
But according to the report, Sun Xiang’s agent believes that Wigan’s small-team status means that his client will get a crack at first-team football more quickly. This would be in contrast to former team-mate Du Wei is yet to make his first team debut at Celtic. However manager Gordon Strachan has intimated that he wishes to keep the Chinese national team defender beyond his inital trial period which expires in January, and told Glasgow’s Evening Times, “He has been settling really well and we hope he stays.”
Elsewhere in all things Shanghai and football, Shenhua have welcomed back 2003 Championship-winning coach Wu Jingui who will spearhead the club’s attempts to win the CSL next season, after relieving Russian Valeri Nepomniatchi of his first team managerial duties last week.
This post originally appeared on Shanghaiist.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015