Shenhua target Drogba after sealing Anelka deal
Nicolas Anelka will become the biggest signing in Chinese football history – and one of the highest-paid players in the world – when he completes his transfer to Shanghai Shenhua from Chelsea next month. The 32-year-old French international has agreed a two-year deal reportedly worth around £200,000-a-week after tax with the Super League club.
Anelka was placed on the transfer list by his current manager, Andre Villas-Boas, and exiled to Chelsea's reserves – along with Alex, the central defender also deemed surplus to requirements – after making clear his wish to depart Stamford Bridge earlier this month. A number of clubs from Russia, the United Arab Emirates and North America, most notably the new Major League Soccer franchise, Montreal Impact, had been monitoring his availability, but none has been able to match the terms on offer in Shanghai.
The former Arsenal, Bolton, Manchester City and Liverpool player is understood to have been placed in a similar salary bracket to Dario Conca, the unheralded Argentine who last summer joined Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande, by Shenhua's owner Zhu Jun, a gambling magnate once linked with a takeover of the Anfield side. "I could not believe how many zeros there were on the offer," said Conca, formerly with Fluminense, after he agreed a deal worth £10.6m a year.
The intense competition between China's club owners is likely to mean Anelka is the first of a number of high-profile stars from European leagues targeted by the Chinese Super League. Guti, the former Real Madrid player, is thought to be one player under consideration, while both Shenhua and Dalian Aerbin have admitted their interest in Anelka's team-mate Didier Drogba.
Zhu Jun, Anelka's new employer, admitted he "got in touch [with Drogba] two weeks ago, and if he wants to come, we'd definitely welcome him." Dalian's general manager, Li Ming, last week confirmed his club have made an offer of around £200,000-a-week for three years to the Ivorian international.
"Money is not the problem," he said. "Drogba is still one of the most popular soccer stars in the world, though he will soon be 34 years old. We have talked a lot with Drogba's agent and promised him a three-year contract."
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Only 132 pubs in the United Kingdom will show the fight - so where can you watch it?
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds