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Eastbound and down

Shanghai surprise: Chelsea confirm Anelka's China transfer

The France striker will join Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in January, the Premier League side confirmed this morning.

NICOLAS ANELKA’S DAYS in the blue of Chelsea are numbered.

The France striker will join Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in January, the Premier League side confirmed this morning.

Anelka will sign a two-year, €200k-per-week contract after recently having a transfer request accepted by the Blues.

A statement from Stamford Bridge chiefs reads: “Chelsea Football Club and Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua have agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Nicolas Anelka in the January transfer window.

“Since arriving from Bolton Wanderers in January 2008, the 32-year-old Frenchman has scored 59 goals in 185 games for Chelsea.”

Anelka has been training with the reserves – along with defender Alex – in recent weeks after being banished from the senior squad by manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Talking about the benefits of signing the forward, despite the eye-watering financial cost, the Super League club’s financial backer, Zhou Jun said: “It’s like with the opening up of China. We needed to bring in the good stuff from foreign countries for us to learn from.

“The benefits Anelka brings to the club are obvious. Firstly it will definitely increase the squad’s attacking capability. Secondly, the arrival of such a high level football star like Anelka in a young club like Shenhua will increase the hopes of the young people and create an example for them to follow. It will definitely increase the club’s competitiveness.”

Chelsea face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge tonight.

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