Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka to make Shanghai transfer


Nicolas Anelka's nomadic career took its most exotic turn today after it was confirmed he was leaving Chelsea for Shanghai Shenhua in the new year.

The 32-year-old agreed a two-year deal with the Chinese Super League club, becoming arguably the biggest footballing personality ever to ply his trade in the world's most populous nation.

He will earn a reported salary of £175,000 a week and unlike fading stars such as Paul Gascoigne, Ruben Sosa, Carsten Jancker and Jorg Albertz, who decamped to China in the early 2000s, Anelka is still arguably somewhere near his peak.

The former France striker had no shortage of suitors when it became apparent his Chelsea contract, which was set to expire at the end of the season, would not be renewed.

To say money played a significant part in his decision to join Shenhua would be stating the obvious, with Anelka seemingly not the sort to embark on a David Beckham-esque mission to transform the footballing fortunes of a far-flung empire.

But his arrival might help to do that anyway and will certainly provide a huge boost to a club who finished 11th out of 16 teams in the Super League last term.

Another possible incentive for Anelka to join is that Shenhua are trying to lure Jean Tigana - the former France midfielder and Fulham boss - to be their new manager.

It did not take long for Anelka's signing to be embraced by his soon-to-be team-mates, with captain Yu Tao writing on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter: "It's impossible not to be excited by this - a warm welcome to our new team-mate!"

Goalkeeper Wang Dalei added: "Tell Anelka he made his new team-mates really proud!"

Shenhua will become Anelka's ninth club since he burst onto the scene at Arsenal during their 1997-98 double-winning campaign.


Get Adobe Flash player


Never one to stay anywhere for long, the striker has racked up almost £87million in combined transfer fees - and who knows how many more millions in signing-on fees, wages and agents fees for his well-known entourage.

A stint at Real Madrid - where he won the Champions League - a return to Paris St Germain and a loan spell at Liverpool followed his Arsenal adventure before permanent moves to Manchester City, Fenerbahce and Bolton.

He became Avram Grant's first signing for Chelsea in January 2008 in a £15million deal, going on to miss the decisive penalty in the Champions League final defeat against Manchester United in Moscow.

However, he was a key part of last year's double-winning side under Carlo Ancelotti and scored 59 times in 184 games in total.

The arrival of Juan Mata and the return of Daniel Sturridge from a loan spell at Bolton saw him marginalised by new manager Andre Villas-Boas and he was banished from Chelsea's first team along with defender Alex after both submitted transfer requests.

Anelka's status as China's biggest ever footballing import may not last long if Shenhua or Super League rivals Dalian Aerbin succeed in their pursuit of Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba.

Drogba, who has yet to agree a new deal with the Blues to replace the one that expires at the end of the season, has been offered a three-year contract worth more than £200,000 per week by Aerbin.

General manager Li Ming told Chinese media last week: "Money is not the problem.

"Drogba is still one of the most popular soccer stars in the world, though he will be 34 years old.

"We have talked a lot with Drogba's agent and promised to provide him with a three-year contract."

Aerbin were only formed in 2009 and have just been promoted to China's top division.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own