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Shanghai Shenhua admit Anelka interest

Chinese Super League (CSL) club Shanghai Shenhua have confirmed they have "asked about" the availability of Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka, with reports in the French media suggesting he will move to Asia in January.

Anelka, 32, has only started three Premier League matches for the Blues so far this season and has claimed just one goal in 14 appearances in all competitions.

The former France international is thought to have grown frustrated with his lack of playing time at Stamford Bridge and with his contract set to expire at the end of the current campaign, he has been heavily tipped to leave Chelsea in the next transfer window.

Big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala have already stated their interest in the forward - whose previous clubs include Arsenal, PSG and Real Madrid - while he has regularly been linked with a move to Major League Soccer.

Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua are also among Anelka's admirers, though the club have admitted that attracting him to the Far East may prove tough.

"It is so difficult. We actually asked about Anelka," a Shanghai Shenhua official told newspaper DF Daily. "We also know he could leave the Blues as a Bosman player next summer but there are so many clubs interested in him

"AC Milan, Russian clubs and some Gulf clubs. If we want to sign him finally, [his contract] would cost plenty."

But despite Shanghai Shenhua remaining coy on the possibility of bringing Anelka to China, French daily L'Equipe reports that the frontman has already agreed to join them in a deal that will see him scoop €10.6 million per year.

Former Brazil defender Junior Baiano, 2001 Champions League winner Carsten Jancker and ex-Middlesbrough striker Hamilton Ricard are among the Chinese club's former players, while Shenhua's owner Zhu Jun once claimed to have made a bid for Liverpool - though it was later proved to be untrue.

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