Lee Jang-soo takes the helm at Shenzhen

After achieving a sixth place finish in the 2021 Chinese Super League, Shenzhen FC have made the decision to replace José Carlos Granero and hire Lee Jang-soo as their new head coach.

Lee Jang-soo returns to Chinese football

Chinese football fans will be very familiar with the 65-year-old South Korean, who has had previous spells with six clubs across the Middle Kingdom - with his first coming between 1998 and 2000 with Chongqing Longxin (now Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic), where he helped guide them to the Chinese FA Cup in 2000.

After a fruitful three-year spell in Chongqing, with back-to-back fourth place finishes in the old Jia-A League, Lee moved to Qingdao Etsong Hainiu, where he stayed between 2001 and 2003 - winnin the 2002 Chinese FA Cup.

Spells back in South Korea followed before he took charge of Beijing Guoan in 2007. He guided them to a runner-up position in his first season in charge, followed that up with a third-place finish in 2008 and had the club atop the CSL table late into the 2009 season.

He should be credited with winning the 2009 Chinese Super League, but he was unceremoniously fired by the club due to team selections not falling in line with what the directors preferred.

Lee was not out of work for long, however, taking over at Guangzhou Evergrande in 2010 - leading them to the China League One title in his debut season and following that up with the 2011 Chinese Super League and 2012 Chinese FA Super Cup.

He was once again unceremoniously replaced despite his great success, with Guangzhou hiring legendary Italian manager Marcello Lippi after the 2012 season.

The Haman, Gyeongnam native had a single season spell with Chengdu Tiancheng in 2014 before taking charge of Changchun Yatai, the club that beat out his Beijing Guoan side to the title in 2007, from 2016 to 2017.

Lee saw his side improve from 12th to 7th in the Chinese Super League standings, but he left with Changchun opting to replace him with Chen Jingang - who oversaw the team's relegation in 2018 and initial struggles in the second tier in 2019.

Now, after a few years away from the sport, Lee Jang-soo is back in charge of a Chinese club in the form of Shenzhen.

He becomes the fifth man to take charge of the southern Chinese side since 2019, and will be charged with continuing to improve the side's success after they reached sixth place in 2021.

With a wealth of experience in the Chinese top tier, and plenty of silverware with many of the clubs he has taken charge of, Lee should be a positive hire for the club and targeting the cup as well as an improvement in league standing should be the expectation moving forward.

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