Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Anelka to swap Chelsea for Shanghai

Chelsea have agreed terms with Shanghai Shenhua for the sale of Nicolas Anelka in January's transfer window.

The Chinese Super League club reported this morning that Anelka would sign a two-year contract next month after recently having a transfer request accepted by the Blues.

And Chelsea have confirmed they have agreed a deal for the French striker's permanent transfer when the transfer window opens.

Anelka is in the final year of his Stamford Bridge contract and it became clear earlier this season that his three-year stay with the Blues would not be extended.

He and team-mate Alex were banished from Andre Villas-Boas' first-team squad after handing in transfer requests, although both had enjoyed only very limited action under the new manager.

Anelka could link up at Shenhua with fellow Frenchman Jean Tigana, who is being earmarked to take charge of the club.

Former Arsenal, Real Madrid, Manchester City and France star Anelka has already been welcomed by his prospective new 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!"

A host of rival clubs were linked with Anelka, including West Ham and Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact, but moving to China will make him arguably the biggest signing in the country's history.

He may not be for 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 a 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.

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