NEWCASTLE Jets have added Chinese international striker Zhang Shuo and Italian midfielder Marcello Fiorentini to their playing roster for next season.
Shuo comes to the Hunter-based club after completing a brief stint with Indonesian outfit Persik Kediri, but made a name for himself in his homeland with Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda.
The 26-year-old is best known to Australian football fans through his involvement in the 2009 Asian Champions League, where he played for Tianjin alongside former AS Roma hardman Damiano Tommasi and current Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge.
Shuo's Group H opponents that year included Central Coast Mariners, with Shuo being brought on as a late substitute against the Gosford-based side in their 2-2 draw.
In addition to his showing on the continental stage, the Beijing-born frontman has appeared in more than 130 matches in the Chinese Super League and has 10 caps for China, scoring his first international goal against Lebanon in a friendly in 2004.
Fiorentini has been something of a journeyman since starting out his career in the youth system of Serie A club SS Lazio in the late ‘90s. The 29-year-old central midfielder has spent recent years with Pescara and Palazzolo in Serie C and D.
Jets CEO John Tsatsimas today said that the dual signing essentially completes the recruitment drive for the 2007/08 A-League 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."
He added: "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."