Shanghai, Dec 7: Shanghai Shenhua expects to announce within five days whether France striker Nicolas Anelka will join it on a three-year contract under expected new coach Jean Tigana.
Chelsea has said Anelka can leave in January after 4 years at the London club. Should he sign for Shenhua, the 32-year-old would star in the Chinese Super League. Club media officer Ma Yue said talks with Anelka's representatives are making good progress and that Shenhua wants to secure his services for three years.
“There'll be news very soon,” Ma told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “There'll be news in four to five days, at the latest ... In five days, we'll definitely have news on whether it is ‘Yes' or ‘No.”'
Tigana, a former coach at Bordeaux, Lyon, Monaco, Fulham and Besiktas, is on the verge of taking over as manager and is expected in Shanghai next week, Ma said. The former France midfielder, who won the European Championship alongside Michel Platini in 1984, plans to bring his own assistants, Ma added.
Ma said he had no information on whether Tigana has actually signed a contract but added: “It's basically decided.” “He will be coming with his own team picked from France,” he said.
In France, the national union of managers confirmed that Tigana contacted it last week to ask about assistants who could join him in China.
News reports in Britain suggest that second-tier side West Ham also was interested in recruiting Anelka. Ma said Tigana's expected hiring could make it easier to convince Anelka to play instead in Shanghai.
“Now you understand why he might choose us,” he said of Anelka, who has 14 goals in 69 games for France.
Anelka was former Chelsea manager Avram Grant's first signing, joining the London club from Bolton in January 2008. His previous clubs included Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.
New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has mainly looked to Didier Drogba, Daniel Sturridge and Fernando Torres for goals this season. Villas-Boas has distanced Anelka and defender Alex, also expected to leave Chelsea next month, from his first team.
Ma said Shenhua was confident Anelka could fulfill a three-year contract. “In England or other European countries, his age might be considered quite advanced,” he said. “But the football level is not as high here. “We don't think it's any problem for him to play for another three years.”
News reports in Britain have speculated that Anelka could pull in an annual 6 million pounds ($9.4 million; ¤7 million) with Shenhua. Ma said the financial terms were “sensitive” and that he could not give details.
“It's not convenient for us to give figures at the moment,” he said. “The figures being spoken about outside are not necessarily correct.”