x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Anelka unhappy after reports he faces axe as Shanghai coach

Former Argentina boss Sergio Batista linked with job as French striker admits of communication problem with club.

Nicolas Anelka attends a training session with his team mates at Shanghai Shenhua
Nicolas Anelka attends a training session with his team mates at Shanghai Shenhua

SHANGHAI// Nicolas Anelka admits he would have a problem continuing to play for Shanghai Shenhua if the Chinese side replaced him as coach with former Argentina boss Sergio Batista.

Anelka has been coaching the side since Jean Tigana was sacked last month, but reports in China claim the struggling side are to name the 49-year-old former Argentine midfielder as their new manager, with Anelka reverting back to a player role.

But the Frenchman, famously axed from his country's 2010 World Cup side for comments directed at then coach Raymond Domenech, warned the club against such a move.

"I don't know this coach. I haven't heard anything about this from the club. I have only learnt this from the media," he told reporters today.

"There is a huge problem of communication between me and the club, because of the language barrier. I am not aware of anything that is happening.

"I am a coach but also I am a player before anything. If something happens and I am not aware of it, you should know that I am a player and that would be a problem in the future because I will still be here."

Anelka signed for the Chinese side in December, on a two-year deal worth a reported $300,000 (AED1.1m) a week, but the club has struggled for form and sits just one point above the relegation zone after 11 matches.

Results have not improved under Anelka's guidance, with Shanghai slumping to a 1-0 loss away to Henan Jianye on the weekend - but the Frenchman insisted a new coach was not the solution.

"I would be very disappointed if it happens like that. From the start, I tried to improve the club. I did that to help the coach and I don't get any extra money for this second role that I am doing.

"I am the coach today and I try to do my best. We have very, very young players and we are working hard and we will try to improve the level of the team and help push up the club."

Shanghai have been strongly linked with a move for Anelka's former Chelsea team mate Didier Drogba, who said he was leaving the Champions League winners this week, but the Frenchman said he had heard nothing from the Ivorian striker.

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