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People's Daily Online>>Sports

Shanghai chasing Chelsea striker?

By Wu Ying and Chen Xiangfeng  (China Daily)

09:13, December 07, 2011

BEIJING - The Chinese Super League might soon be welcoming a major international name as Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is reportedly set to sign a mega-deal with the Shanghai Shenhua Football Club.

There has been much speculation about the future of the French striker since the 32-year-old expressed his willingness to leave Stamford Bridge when the transfer window re-opens in January. The Oriental Sports Daily reported on Tuesday that the club and the French international's agent reached a tentative deal a week ago, and The Daily Mail revealed the contract is apparently worth 6.4 million pounds a year ($10.01 million).

The Shanghai club has not confirmed the deal, with chairman Zhou Jun trying to cool media hype.

"The final result will be released in 10 days, so be patient," Zhou said.

Chinese portal sina.com also cited an unnamed top official from Shenhua as saying on Tuesday that the club was involved in talks with the star striker, who represented France 69 times and scored 14 goals, and the contract was for three years.

The once-dominant Shanghai team slipped to 11th place last season in the top-flight CSL and wants to add to its stock by bringing in some big names to compete with teams like the nouveau riche champion, Guangzhou Evergrande.

A number of international stars have taken the field for Chinese teams, including Paul Gascoigne, Ruben Sosa, Jnior Baiano and Jorg Albertz, with the latter acclaimed as the most successful foreign player after helping Shenhua win the championship in 2003.

Anelka hit the headlines during the 2010 World Cup when he had a public feud with then-French head coach Raymond Domenech, and quit the national team after France's poor performance in South Africa, which saw the 1998 champion knocked out at the group stage.

The French striker shined in the English Premier League, especially during the 2008-09 season with Chelsea, when he was the league's leading scorer with 19 goals. However, under coach Andr Villas-Boas, Anelka struggled and has scored only one goal so far this season in limited playing time with the Blues.

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