Anelka wants reunion with Manchester United star in China
Just two weeks into his role as head coach, Nicolas Anelka is already looking at strengthening his Shanghai Shenhua side this summer, with Manchester United striker Michael Owen his chief target.
Anelka took up the position at the helm from Jean Tigana last week, and now wants Owen, his former strike partner during a spell at Liverpool, to join him in Asia.
Ex-England striker Owen remains low in the Man United pecking order, and is unlikely to have his contract, which expires this summer, renewed by Sir Alex Ferguson.
His global standing, amidst impressive World Cup campaigns and accolades achieved at other main tournaments, are attractive to Shenhua chiefs who are aiming to make the club a continental force.
The signing of Anelka was the first step to achieving this back in January, and with a move for Didier Drogba also mooted, the addition of Owen could set them well on their way.
Owen was immensely popular with Chinese fans when touring the Far East with United back in 2009, so could be attracted by the grandeur being a marquee signing would provide.
He would also be offered an extremely healthy financial package, with Anelka’s weekly wage as a player reportedly well exceeding £200,000 per week, and the club thought to be willing to pay Drogba £240,000 weekly to sign.
One of England’s all-time record goalscorers, Owen may have finally given up on his international career after surely not playing nearly enough football to justify inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad.
Now in the twilight of his career, having racked up numerous accolades in domestic and European football, he could decide to play out the latter stages of his career as part of an exciting new project in China.