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Anelka to join Shanghai Shenhua in January

French striker leaves for China after handing in a transfer request

Posted Dec 15, 2011 by Chris White

Nicolas Anelka has grown tired of a lack of opportunities at Chelsea

Having had a transfer request accepted by the club last week, Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has confirmed that he will be joining Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in January, once the transfer window opens.

The striker has seen his first team opportunities reducing on a game-by-game basis since January this year when the club signed Fernando Torres, and Anelka has now fallen behind the Spaniard as well as Didier Drogba, Daniel Sturridge and Salomon Kalou in the pecking order, prompting his request to leave the club.

The 32-year old was the first signing made by Avram Grant in January 2008 and became a vital part of the side, scoring some crucial goals for the club, with a total of 59 in 185 appearances, and missing the crucial penalty in the Champions League final against Manchester United in Moscow. His contract with the club was due to expire in the summer, and the Chinese club have moved to get the deal done quickly before the bigger clubs made their move.

Anelka has scored just one goal in fifteen appearances this season, and he has been training away from the first team squad since having his transfer request accepted by manager Andre Villas-Boas.

For those not up to speed on the Chinese league, Shanghai Shenhua finished eleventh out of sixteen teams last season, and their 35,000-seater Hongkou Stadium hosted the final of the Women’s World Cup in 2007. The club are attempting to build a reputation in the game, and have already made several key signings in the past, including the former Bayern Munich striker Carsten Jancker, and ex-Rangers midfielder Jorg Albertz.

Anelka is one player who has never really settled at a club, and looked to have finally made a home for himself at Chelsea. Obviously at 32, it’s better to be playing regular football which is what he clearly desired by handing in a transfer request, making Shanghai Shenhua his ninth professional club, having already racked up £86.8million in transfer fees.

Anelka’s transfers:

February 1997 – PSG to Arsenal (£500,000)

August 1999 – Arsenal to Real Madrid (£22.3million)

July 2000 – Real Madrid to PSG (£22million)

January 2002 – PSG to Liverpool (loan)

June 2002 – PSG to Manchester City (£12million)

January 2005 – Manchester City to Fenerbahce (£7million)

August 2006 – Fenerbahce to Bolton (£8million)

January 2008 – Bolton to Chelsea (£15million)

Should Chelsea have kept Nicolas Anelka at Stamford Bridge? Give us your thoughts here, on Twitter @ImagineSoccer or on Facebook by clicking here.

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