x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Anelka looks East, but Lampard seems set at Chelsea

Chinese club are confident of signing Nicolas Anelka on a three-year deal when the January transfer window opens, but Frank Lampard is likely to stay at Stamford Bridge.

Nicolas Anelka has put in a transfer request at Chelsea, and he may be on his way to Shanghai in January.
Nicolas Anelka has put in a transfer request at Chelsea, and he may be on his way to Shanghai in January.

Shanghai Shenhua, the Chinese Super League club, are confident of completing a move for Nicolas Anelka, Chelsea's French striker, on a three-year deal when the transfer window reopens.

Ma Yue, the Shanghai club's press officer, said yesterday that talks are making good progress with Anelka, 32, who has been told by Chelsea that he can leave the English Premier League club next month.

Ma also said Jean Tigana, a former coach at Bordeaux, Lyon, Monaco, Fulham and Besiktas, is on the verge of taking over as manager at Shenhua, and that the former France midfielder, who won the European Championship alongside Michel Platini in 1984, is expected in Shanghai next week and will bring his own assistants.

In France, the national union of managers confirmed that Tigana contacted it last week to ask about assistants who could join him in China.

Zhu Jun, the Shenhua chairman, told the Shanghai Daily: "We started to talk about every detail from the first minute of the negotiations.

"The whole contract is made up of details. It's comprehensive and complicated, involving the player's image and the commercial cooperation."

Anelka will be a free agent next summer and therefore able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a rival club in January.

Whatever the outcome, Anelka is set to spend the remainder of 2011 kicking his heels.

He and his Chelsea teammate Alex were last week allegedly banished by Andre Villas-Boas, the manager, from first-team squad after handing in transfer requests.

One player who still has a role to play at Chelsea, according to Villas-Boas, is Frank Lampard, despite the midfielder being left out of the team that beat Valencia 3-0 on Tuesday to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Lampard, 33, who has played in more than 500 matches for Chelsea since joining from West Ham United 10 years ago, was an unused substitute as Villas-Boas opted for a midfield three of Oriol Romeu, Raul Meireles and Ramires against the Spanish team at Stamford Bridge.

However, Villas-Boas, the manager who also took Lampard off during Saturday's 3-0 Premier League win at Newcastle United, said he was in contention to face Manchester City, the league leaders, at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

"Frank has been fantastic. We have to select 11 and he wasn't in this 11," Villas-Boas said. "Important players have been left out at Chelsea, players of immense talent.

"He has been in a fantastic moment and is sure to threaten for the starting XI on Monday.

"He is one of the greatest players in the world, but this choice was three players in midfield because of their technical ability to keep possession and keep it on the ground without a lot of long balls.

"We know that Frank can also do this but he was not our choice for this game."