By Cal Widdall
Anelka’s football career in Shanghai got off to a flying start as he scored within the first minute of his debut yesterday. Lunging in to meet teammate Wu Xi’s cross, Shanghai’s star signing headed home to score the first goal in Shenhua’s 3-1 friendly victory over 2nd division team Hunan Billows.
According to teammates, Anelka has also picked up some Shanghainese, claiming that it sounds “pleasant, a bit like someone singing a song.” He’s obviously yet to be shouted at by a frustrated taxi driver who doesn’t understand where you want to go.
In other good news for our local team, the past week has seen Shanghai Shenhua make three new signings to strengthen their squad. However, the bad news is that all three of these signings were non-Chinese, completing the team’s five-man foreign quota and therefore dramatically decreasing the likelihood of us getting to see Didier Drogba in a Shenhua shirt anytime soon.
Having already bought Nicolas Anelka from Chelsea, and enticing Australian Joel Griffiths from rivals Beijing Guoan, Shenhua have this week added Bosnian defensive midfielder Mario Bozic and Brazilian centre back Moises Moura Pinheiro to their list of foreign signings. The last addition to the team will be French forward Mathieu Manset, who is currently being signed on a 6 month loan deal from Reading.
22 year-old Manset is believed to have cost the Shanghai side a total of 7.5million rmb and is likely to partner Nicolas Anelka up front. Despite failing to cement a first team place at English Championship side Reading, starting only 8 games since his move last January, Manset has scored 5 goals in 21 appearances.
The fact that Manset has been signed on a loan deal, rather than bought outright, means that it’s still possible Drogba could take his place when it expires in August. Although Manset looks like a good signing for Shenhua, we have to admit we were hoping Drogba would be playing, and dramatically rolling about on the floor, for Shanghai before the end of the summer.
Shanghai Shenhua 3-1 Hunan Billows highlights below: