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Veteran striker Yang Xu officially joins Shanghai Shenhua

Shanghai Shenhua

Shanghai Shenhua have continued their off-season acquisitions ahead of the 2020 Chinese Super League season, with striker Yang Xu the latest to sign with the club.

The 32-year-old Chinese international was a free agent after the recent collapse of Tianjin Tianhai, allowing him to join any club without the cost of a transfer fee.

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 making his debut for Liaoning FC in 2005, Yang Xu has been a constant presence in Chinese football, racking 100 goals in 352 professional games.

He has been one of the more consistent performers for the Chinese National Team also, scoring 28 goals in 54 matches for his country.

With the likes of Obafemi Martins and Kim Shin-wook already on the books for Shenhua, Yang is likely to be utilised in a backup role and could be used regularly in matches where the opposition can only field two import players.

While his best days are likely behind, having also had spells at Shandong Luneng and Changchun Yatai, it will be a nice luxury for Shanghai Shenhua to have a Chinese player that is capable of contributing eight or nine goals a season.

One question Yang Xu’s signing does raise is whether or not the limit on ‘overage’ domestic players still counts for the 2020 season, with Shanghai Shenhua already locking up the likes of Zeng Cheng (33), Zhu Baojie (30), Feng Xiaoting (34), Zhao Mingjian (32) and Qin Sheng (33).

Typically teams are only permitted five over-23s domestic signings in a season. With Shenhua having secured the signatures of at least six so far, it does raise questions on whether or not teams may continue to sign players for the new season, with the new transfer window arrangements.

For Shanghai Shenhua, it sees them once again sign a player over the age of 30, adding more experience and very little youth to a team that finished 13th in the Chinese Super League before winning the Chinese FA Cup and securing continental football in 2020.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and the correspondent on Changchun Yatai for Wild East Football. James has followed the club since 2012, lived in the North-Eastern city between August 2013 and March 2018 and was a season ticket holder for the 2015 CSL campaign.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and the correspondent on Changchun Yatai for Wild East Football. James has followed the club since 2012, lived in the North-Eastern city between August 2013 and March 2018 and was a season ticket holder for the 2015 CSL campaign.

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