China / Sports

Shenhua splashes cash to snare Tevez

By Agence France-Presse in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-12-30 07:02

Argentine becomes latest big-name import in reported $84 million deal

Former Manchester United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has signed with Shanghai Shenhua in the latest big-money addition to the Chinese Super League, the club confirmed on Thursday.

The acquisition of the 32-year-old Argentine from Buenos Aires club Boca Juniors will "greatly enhance" the team's front line, Shenhua said on social media.

"The club looks forward to Tevez helping Greenland Shenhua attack cities and strike stockades in Asian and domestic matches and contribute to more exciting games for fans," it said, calling him "the most outstanding striker in Argentina's history".

Shenhua did not disclose the fee, but Argentine media previously reported Tevez will earn $84 million over two years - 20 times his previous earnings.

In a statement, Boca thanked Tevez, who was on his second stint with the club, scoring 25 goals in 56 matches, including a double in a 4-2 Clasico victory over bitter rival River Plate earlier this month.

Boca wished him good luck, saying he left fans with "unforgettable memories" and telling him "they will be dreaming of your return".

"We'll work on bringing you back," it added. "No effort is too great to have you wearing our shirt again."

After passing a medical, Tevez will join the rest of the squad on the Japanese island of Okinawa, where it is in preseason training until late January, according to Shenhua.

The team is coached by former Uruguay international Gus Poyet, who was appointed last month after Shenhua parted company with Gregorio Manzano, despite the Spaniard guiding it to a fourth-place finish in the Chinese Super League.

The move makes Tevez the latest big international name, many of them South American, lured to Chinese soccer for eye-popping salaries.

Crosstown rival Shanghai SIPG, coached by former Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas, last week signed Chelsea's 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder Oscar, reportedly for a $73 million fee.

Before the Oscar deal, Chinese top-flight clubs splashed out more than $400 million on players this year, after President Xi Jinping laid out a vision of turning the country into a soccer power.

Chinese teams broke the Asian record three times in just 10 days in the January-February transfer window, and moved it still higher when Brazil's Hulk joined SIPG for $58 million in July.

Significantly, Chinese clubs are competing with Europe's big guns for world-class players, who are choosing astronomical pay packets over a career in soccer's top leagues.

Fans welcomed the latest deal. "Shanghai's soccer has had its spring," said one post on Weibo, while another fan wrote: "Aren't you looking forward to next season's Shanghai derby?"

Tevez, who has also played for Juventus, has more than 70 caps for Argentina.

He won two English Premier League titles in England for Alex Ferguson's Manchester United and one with City.

He married the mother of his three children, Vanesa Mansilla, last week in Uruguay only to discover that his home had been burgled when he returned after the ceremony.

Beijing wants Podolski

Turkish club Galatasaray said on Wednesday it had received a significant offer from Beijing Guoan for German striker Lukas Podolski.

"An important offer has been received from Beijing Guoan for Podolski," said Galatasaray's sporting director Levent Nazifoglu.

"We are considering this offer. Whether this transfer is realized is dependent on the player," he was quoted by Anadolu news agency.

A fee was not disclosed, but the Istanbul cub is believed to want around $7 million for former Arsenal and Cologne forward Podolski.

Beijing Guoan currently has former Galatasaray star Burak Yilmaz on its roster after signing the Turkey international from Gala in 2016.

Podolski, who retired from international duty this year, joined Galatasaray in 2015.

His tough approach and interest in Turkish culture has made the 31-year-old popular with fans.

However, he has also had injury problems and the team has been through a fallow period, finishing sixth in the Super Lig last season.

Shenhua splashes cash to snare Tevez

Carlos Tevez celebrates scoring for Boca Juniors against River Plate in their Argentine First Division match at Antonio Liberti Stadium in Buenos Aires earlier this month. The former Manchester United and Manchester City star has signed a two-year contract with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua for a reported $84 million. Rmarcos Brindicci / Euters

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