Wu Lei pledges to stay at Espanyol despite relegation

Espanyol striker and China international Wu Lei has pledged his future to the club next season despite their relegation to the second tier.

The 28-year-old joined Espanyol in December 2019 from Shanghai SIPG – where he scored 169 goals across ten years and became a star at international level, with 18 goals in 67 caps.

A versatile forward, the China international is known for his explosive pace and movement off the ball while his move to Espanyol was also partly viewed as a marketing ploy with the club owned by Chinese businessman Chen Yansheng.

Wu Lei netted eight goals this season spread across 49 appearances, with four of those strikes coming in La Liga.

A report last month in Marca claimed English side Wolverhampton Wanderers were weighing up a move for the striker while Turkish outlet Fotospor had cited interest from Istanbul giants Besiktas, but he has no intention of leaving Espanyol.

The Catalan club’s 25-year stint in the Spanish top flight was ended this season but they are hopeful of bouncing back at the first attempt.

“From the first day I arrived, I have decided to stay here,” the striker said, in quotes carried by Marca.

“Espanyol is my first team in Europe. For me it has a special meaning. I have a lot of affection for this club. Since I arrived I have noticed the enthusiasm of the fans, who are wonderful.

“The employees of the club and my teammates have helped me a lot and I am happy to be at Espanyol.

“We need to get out of that situation (not being in La Liga) as soon as possible. The objective of this season is very clear: to return to the top division. We have to overcome as soon as possible what happened to us last season.”

Tags Wu Lei