Chinese star Wu Lei postpones shoulder surgery until end of season for Espanyol
Hu Zhicheng

New Espanyol signing Wu Lei is set to heed the club's advice to delay surgery on his left shoulder until the end of the season, according to several Spanish media outlets.

There was a growing concern in recent weeks that the  27-year-old Chinese striker could potentially miss the remainder of the La Liga season if he had to undergo surgery, but Espanyol have opted for a conservative treatment for Wu's injury so that he can feature in the club's crucial league run-in.

The former Shanghai SIPG talisman, who won the 2018 Chinese Super League Golden Boot with 27 goals, suffered a shoulder fracture during the Asian Cup last month and played through the pain for most of the tournament. His performance suffered, as a result, failing to prevent China from being swatted aside by Iran in the quarter-finals.

Wu Lei could be in danger of burnout after making 50 appearances for his former club Shanghai SIPG and country since 2018. /VCG Photo

Wu Lei could be in danger of burnout after making 50 appearances for his former club Shanghai SIPG and country since 2018. /VCG Photo

Wu has played 37 games for SIPG last season, while he has represented his country on a further 13 occasions in friendlies and the Asian Cup in January. It has been a grueling schedule for the China international, and he is expected to travel to Germany for surgery after his unveiling at Espanyol last week, so as to get a much-deserved rest and rehabilitation.

However, circumstances forced Wu's hand. His new club Espanyol have endured a wretched run of form that could see them be relegated from the top flight. The Catalan side sit second as recently as November but went on to lose nine of their last 10 league games to slip to 15th. 

Shanghai SIPG's title challenge has started to take its toll on Wu Lei, but he remains confident he can thrive in Spain. /VCG Photo

Shanghai SIPG's title challenge has started to take its toll on Wu Lei, but he remains confident he can thrive in Spain. /VCG Photo

Espanyol manager Rubi has painted a bleak picture of the lack of alternatives up front, but Wu Lei's availability after his arrival in the January transfer window could ease the club's striker woes and potentially help the club turn around their fortunes.

After postponing the shoulder surgery, Wu is in line to make his debut for Espanyol in this weekend's La Liga clash with fellow strugglers Villarreal.