Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese big-spenders Jiangsu Suning have parted ways with their coach Choi Yong-Soo after a disappointing season was compounded by elimination from the AFC Champions League.

Jiangsu — who share owners with Italy’s Inter Milan — announced the South Korean’s departure late Thursday, one day after their Champions League exit at the hands of Shanghai SIPG.

Despite splashing out on high-priced imports like Brazilians Ramires and Alex Teixeira, Jiangsu lie 13th in the Chinese Super League with China’s FA Cup their last hope of silverware this season.

The club said Choi, who took over last July, had applied to “terminate his contract in advance” and that the club agreed after “careful study”.

Jiangsu are one of China’s richest clubs and they are controlled by retailing giant Suning Commerce Group, which has moved to make an impact in football, both in China and Europe.

Last year, the company bought a majority stake in celebrated Italian club Inter Milan, who have had three different coaches this season and finished sixth in Serie A.

Jiangsu were runners-up to Guangzhou Evergrande in last year’s Chinese Super League, earning a berth in the Champions League, but they are now flirting with relegation from the 16-team domestic competition.

Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat — 5-3 on aggregate — was at the hands of Andre Villas-Boas’s Shanghai SIPG, who boast the Brazilian attacking trio of Hulk, Oscar and Elkeson.

Jiangsu, who thanked Choi for his “diligent work”, said they were actively searching for a new head coach.