Jets add international flavour to squad

Chinese international striker Zhang Shuo and Italian midfielder Marcello Fiorentini have agreed to terms for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

The Newcastle Jets have added Chinese international striker Zhang Shuo and Italian midfielder Marcello Fiorentini to their playing roster, with both players agreeing to terms for the forthcoming Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

Shuo comes to the Hunter-based club after completing a brief stint with Indonesian outfit Persik Kediri, but primarily made a name for himself in his homeland with Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda.

The 26-year-old is perhaps best known to Australian football fans through his involvement in the AFC Champions League 2009 competition, where he played for Tianjin alongside the likes of former AS Roma hardman Damiano Tommasi and current Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge. Shuo-s Group H opponents that year included the Jets- fierce local rivals the Central Coast Mariners, with Shuo being brought on as a late substitute against the Gosford-based side in their 2-all draw on Matchday Two.

In addition to his showing on the continental stage, the Beijing-born frontman has appeared in over 130 matches in the Chinese Super League and has thus far amassed 10 caps for the National Team, scoring his first international goal against Lebanon in a friendly in 2004.

Fiorentini, meanwhile, has been something of a journeyman since starting out his career in the youth system of Serie A club SS Lazio in the late ‘90-s. The 29-year-old central midfielder has spent recent years with Pescara and Palazzolo in the Serie C and D respectively.

Jets CEO John Tsatsimas today explained that the dual signing essentially completes what has been a largely successful recruitment drive for the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 Champions.

“We obviously welcome both of these players to the club and we look forward to their arrival in Newcastle on a more permanent basis in the near future,” he said.

“Both players were part of a group of international trialists who were brought to the Hunter a few weeks ago. These players were assessed by Branko Culina, along with the coaching and medical staff, on a variety of characteristics and they were very pleased with the qualities that Zhang and Marcello will bring to the playing group.”

“The plan for the forthcoming season was always to re-sign the selected bulk of last season-s squad before bringing home some quality Australians who were previously plying their trade abroad. Attention then turned to international talent in order to acquire a few different elements to those which could be found on the domestic front.”

“After following this policy we-re delighted with the squad that we have assembled as we move towards season kick-off in early August,” he said.

The Jets will begin their Hyundai A-League 2010/11 campaign away to Adelaide United on Friday, 6 August at Hindmarsh Stadium before returning home a week later to take on newcomers Melbourne Heart at EnergyAustralia Stadium.