Chinese Whispers

Chinese Whispers

By Christopher Atkins (follow Christopher on twitter @china_football)

It’s been another busy few weeks in China, with one of last season’s marquee recruits headed for the exit door and another may not be far behind. Christopher Atkins once again brings us all the latest from the Middle Kingdom.

Anelka and Drogba head for Shenhua exit

Anelka and Drogba both look like leaving Shanghai

Shanghai Shenhua are set to begin the 2013 season without the biggest two players in their history, with both Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba set to ply their trade away from the crisis-hit Chinese side.

Frenchman Anelka’s exit has already been confirmed, with Juventus taking the striker on a five-month loan. The deal will allow the club to shift the former-Chelsea star off the wage-bill until their financial situation is resolved.

If reports are to be believed, he may well be joined in Europe by Ivorian Didier Drogba. The Ivorian is currently with his country at the Africa Cup of Nations, but is said to have gone to FIFA to request a contract termination over unpaid wages. In recent days, he has been heavily linked to Turkish giants Galatasaray.

The club propelled Chinese football onto the back pages of newspapers worldwide with the signings of the attacking duo last season. However, with the club’s recent financial issues and boardroom squabbles once more making headlines, there will be many asking whether their big-money moves have benefited the Super League’s global reputation.


Cléo leaves as Evergrande streamline

With Guangzhou Evergrande having once more greatly strengthened during this transfer window, the club have sought to streamline their first-team squad—which had been verging on 40-players.

Brazilian striker Cléo, 27, became the latest to depart this week, after the club agreed a loan move to J.League side Kashiwa Reysol for the 2013 campaign.

The Brazilian, who became the club’s record signing in February 2011, becomes the fourth foreign player to leave the club this winter. Fellow Brazilians Paulão and Renato Cajá have both returned to their homeland, while Cho Won-hee has signed with newly promoted Wuhan Zall on a permanent basis.

All this transfer activity comes on top of the recent sales of Chinese international trio Jiang Ning, Liu Jianhua and Wu Pingfeng to neighbours Guangzhou R&F detailed in our last column.

More on Guangzhou Evergrande’s January sales, including several domestic loan deals, can be found here.


Extended CSL news round-up 

• Argentine attacking midfielder Patricio Torranzo is linked with re-joining former team-mate Gio Moreno at Shanghai Shenhua, following the exits of Drogba and Anelka.

• Australian defender Jamie Coyne is training with Liaoning, where elder brother Chris played in 2010.

• At Liaoning, he may well be joined by former Hull City defender Kamil Zayatte—also linked with the club.

• Chinese forward Chen Zhizhao has made a promising start to the 2013 season with Corinthians, but is wanted by parent club Shanghai Shenxin and Guangzhou Evergrande when his loan contract finishes.

• Sporting Lisbon are hopeful of signing Brazilian forward Rafael Coelho from Guangzhou R&F, with the striker outside of the club’s first-team plans in 2013.

• Beijing Guoan have seen a £1.2 million bid for 23-year-old Shanghai Shenxin midfielder Jiang Zhipeng rejected.


Completed deals

• Hangzhou Greentown have completed the signing of Ivory Coast forward Davy Claude Angan from Molde.

• Brazilian Série A side Bahia have signed out of favour Shandong Luneng striker Obina, after spending the 2012 season on loan at Palmeiras.

• Beijing Guoan have signed 21-year-old Uzeki defender Egor Krimets from Pakhtakor Tashkent on a one-year loan.

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