Celtic sign Shen Mengyu, the first Chinese women's footballer to play in the UK

By Euan Davidson

July 21, 2021

Celtic FC Women have bought Chinese player Shen Mengyu from Shanghai Shengli.

Mengyu, a midfielder who can play wide or centrally, becomes the first Chinese player to sign for a UK-based club. Only 19, Mengyu arrives with an excellent reputation. A star for China at youth level, she earned her first senior call-up last year.

Described as “dynamic”, with an “eye for goal” [Celtic FC], Mengyu represents ambition from Fran Alonso’s outfit. A Gold Medal winner in China’s National Games [Celtic FC], the China international has enjoyed a rapid ascent to the professional game.

Funnily enough, WSL side Tottenham Hotspur signed a different player from Shanghai Shengli. Spurs brought in Tang Jiali on loan, announcing just two minutes after the Hoops [Tottenham Hotspur].

"People in Japan are excited about Furuhashi and Celtic" | Japanese football expert Alan Gibson

Mengyu, who narrowly missed out on an Olympic Games selection, joins Fran Alonso’s side at an excellent time. The charismatic Spanish manager brough the Celtic Women’s team to their first Champions League, with Levante to face in Qualifying [Celtic FC Women].

After a decade-plus of Glasgow City hegemony, Celtic fought the SWPL title to the last day of the 20-21 season.

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Alonso tweeted of his excitement to bring Mengyu into his family of players, posting:

International recruitment boosting multiple Celtic sides, with Chinese midfield creator Shen Mengyu brought in

It’s fair to say that Celtic have adopted a more outward-looking approach in terms of recruitment. For the men’s side, J-League star Kyogo Furuhashi has been signed to much fanfare.

Additionally, the managers themselves tell a story. Fran Alonso came from humble circumstances to become a first-team coach at Premier League sides, before joining Celtic. Now, he’s our wonderfully enthusiastic Celtic FC Women manager.

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ange Postecoglou, meanwhile, is a former Australia manager, who has won A-League and J-League titles. Not the obvious choice at all, yet fans have bought in completely with his demeanour and tactics.

Shen Mengyu, a potential star for the Women’s team, further represents the thinking at Celtic. The Hoops are taking the lead in securing talent from non-obvious locales, and it could pay dividends across the club.

Alonso and the Ghirls start their season against Levante on the 18th of August, travelling to Trondheim to take part in Champions League qualifying. With continental experience and an excellent core of players, don’t bet against them lifting the SWPL this season.

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