By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shanghai Shenhua remain undecided over the future of Carlos Tevez after the Argentine's disappointing debut season at the Chinese Super League club.
Tevez joined Shenhua in a blaze of publicity in January from Boca Juniors amid reports he was earning a salary in the region of $825,000 per week.
The former Manchester United and Juventus striker endured a difficult year in China, however, with rumours circulating he would return to Argentina before the completion of his two-year deal with Shanghai.Tevez played just 16 times in the league and scored only four goals in a campaign interrupted by a lingering calf injury, for which he returned to Buenos Aires for treatment for 10 days in August.
"It's a pretty sensitive issue, we can't really answer that question at the moment," Shenhua team manager Mao Yijun told Reuters when asked about Tevez's future.
"It's safe to say that Tevez's performances didn't really reach our expectations. It's fair to say that. He has had some injuries with his calf and he didn't have a (pre-season) preparation period with us.
"However, in training and in the matches he did try his best and his attitude was very professional. But he didn't reach his top athletic performance because of his condition.
"We are still discussing his future with the club."
Tevez was signed by Shenhua with their Asian Champions League campaign in mind, only for the club to exit the competition at the playoff stage in the 33-year-old's first competitive game.
Shenhua, who had finished fourth in the Chinese Super League in 2016, then endured a rollercoaster league season, eventually finishing 11th with head coach Gus Poyet quitting in September.
Under caretaker coach Wu Jingui, however, the club went on to defeat Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese FA Cup final to book their place in the group phase of the Asian Champions League for next season. Wu has now been given the job on a permanent basis.
Tevez, however, took no part in the Chinese FA Cup win, returning to Argentina a day before the second leg after being told he had been left out of the matchday squad.
"It's been a tough season for us with a lot of unexpected incidents happening and we didn't really do well in the league," said Mao.
"The results were not what we wanted. But in the later stage of the season we had to try to focus on winning the Chinese FA Cup.
"Eventually we won it, so that gave us the perfect ending to the season and we're all happy. It's been a difficult process but a perfect ending."
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)