July 8, 2019 / 8:03 AM / 2 months ago

Soccer-Shanghai Shenhua lure El Shaarawy from AS Roma

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League Round of 16 First Leg - AS Roma v FC Porto - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - February 12, 2019 AS Roma's Stephan El Shaarawy REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

(Reuters) - Chinese Super League (CSL) club Shanghai Shenhua have signed Stephan El Shaarawy from AS Roma, making the Italy international forward their most expensive acquisition to date as they bid to avoid relegation.

The 26-year-old joined Shenhua for a transfer fee of 16 million euros ($17.95 million), the Italian Serie A club said on Monday.

Shenhua are 14th in the 16-team CSL standings just over halfway through the season, only one point above the relegation zone.

Former Valencia and Watford coach Quique Sanchez Flores resigned last week after just over six months in charge after a disappointing run, citing “personal reasons”.

The Spaniard was replaced by Choi Kang-hee and on Monday his compatriot Kim Shin-wook, an experienced international striker, also made the move to Shenhua from Jeonbuk Motors.

Shenhua have scored only 18 goals in 16 matches this season and will be looking to their newly acquired strike force to improve their effectiveness up front.

El Shaarawy, capped 23 times by Italy, joined Roma from AC Milan in January 2016 after spending the first half of the season on loan at French side Monaco.

Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdynia, editing by Nick Mulvenney/Peter Rutherford

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