Report: Drogba to join Anelka in Shanghai
Updated: 2012-03-27 08:08
By Tang Zhe (China Daily)
Rumors of Didier Drogba's move to Shanghai have arisen again
Generous contracts for top-flight foreign talent have brought increased fame to the Chinese Super League (CSL); and with that has come a vibrant grapevine of news about more international big names potentially coming to China.
Drogba on the way?
According to reports, Nicolas Anelka can expect to be joined by his former Chelsea strike partner Didier Drogba at Shanghai Shenhua.
Chinese media reported, Drogba's wife, Diakite Lalla, will arrive in Shanghai on Wednesday to prepare for their stay in China.
"Besides checking out the city, she will also visit some international schools, especially the facilities and environments of some of the French schools, and choose one (for their children)," Jiefang Daily, a paper in Shanghai, quoted an official from Shenhua as saying.
Shenhua chased Drogba last December but the talks came to an abrupt halt when the team's boss, Zhu Jun, said Drogba's agent had proposed too many conditions to the deal by Feb 1.
Meanwhile, Anelka said he was in frequent contact with his former teammate and the Cote d'Ivoire striker would be willing to come, "If everything goes smoothly".
Oriental Sports Daily, another paper in Shanghai, said 34-year-old Drogba was already in Shenhua's plans before the league kicked off. The paper said Shenhua has marked its home game against Dalian Aerbin on June 24 with the words "Drogba Chinese Super League debut" in its ticket marketing scheme.
Lalla will also not feel lonely in Shanghai as Anelka's family arrived in the city on March 18 and will stay for three weeks.
R&F joins bidding race
Guangzhou R&F boss Zhang Li said his club would bring in more high-profile players after losing to Shanghai Shenhua 1-0 last Saturday.
Despite its similar real estate background to big-spending Guangzhou Evergrande, R&F has spent no more than $10 million on five foreign players.
"We don't have enough world-class players and I am planning to introduce more competitive players through bigger investment," Zhang said. "But we won't buy players at Anelka's age, he is old - an old-fashioned luxury. Instead, we are in favor of those around 25 with better physical form and greater speed."
R&F has proposed an offer to Buriram United striker Frank Acheampong, who impressed Zhang in an AFC Champions League match last Wednesday in which the Thailand side tormented CSL champion Evergrande 2-1 at Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium.
"The Thai team bought him for a little more than $100,000 and his annual salary is also around that number. I have offered to double both," Zhang said.
Zhang previously showed a preference for South American talent as all four of the team's foreign players (apart from one from Asia) and the coach are from Brazil. Now he appears to have switched his sights to Africa after being wowed by the 18-year-old Ghanaian "Messi".
"South American players usually ask for a big price, the Europeans cost more, but African players are at low price and are just as talented," Zhang said. "It's the same as purchasing land. You need to look at the player's potential and the room for appreciation."
(China Daily 03/27/2012 page24)