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Batista takes over Shenhua, says Drogba may join up

  • AFP, Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:31 PM

Ex-Argentina international Sergio Batista was introduced Wednesday as Shanghai Shenhua's new head coach, and said the club might also acquire Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba. Batista, 49, takes over from former French international Jean Tigana, who was temporarily replaced by striker Nicolas Anelka as player-coach. Batista, who lifted the 1986 World Cup as a player and coached Argentina to Olympic gold in 2008, has signed a sixth-month contract to lead Shenhua, which has been roiled by controversy during a poor start to the season.

"The people from the club are doing the best things to get Drogba here," Batista said, adding Drogba could soon be a Shenhua player "if everything is OK." Drogba has stated his intent to leave Chelsea, for which he's played eight seasons, when his contract expires in June.

French striker Anelka, who became the Chinese league's most famous signing in December, had reportedly opposed Batista's appointment. But Batista played down speculation of a rift and said he was hoping for a strong contribution from the much-traveled star -- although final decisions would rest with the coach.

"It's another moment. He's a player. I'm open to hear Anelka and all the players on the team speak about what's happening on the field. Obviously, the final decision is from the coach," he said. "Anelka can give to all the players his experience, on the field and off the field."

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