| SHANGHAI, June 21
SHANGHAI, June 21 As Shanghai Shenhua players
purred about lining up alongside new signing Didier Drogba,
manager Sergio Batista said he was closing in on the transfer of
Colombian international Giovanni Moreno to further boost the
Chinese Super League strugglers.
Ivory Coast striker Drogba announced he had agreed a
two-and-a-half year deal with Shanghai on Wednesday, but rather
than sit back and bask in the monumental deal for Chinese
football, former Argentina boss Batista was focusing on the next
Moreno, 25, who currently plays for Racing Club in
Argentina, has been identified as the man to provide the assists
for Drogba and Batista said he was hopeful the attacking
midfielder would be in China before the month was out.
"Perhaps there are still some problems with (Giovanni)
Moreno's club. I hope that he can arrive in Shanghai this week
or next week," the manager told reporters at the club's weekly
news conference on Thursday.
"The club has put in a lot of effort to bring him here so we
are still waiting for these problems to be sorted out. He will
not be able to play for this weekend's game but I hope he can be
available for the next game."
Shanghai said their dreams had come true when they confirmed
they had signed Drogba and could pair the Ivory Coast striker up
front with former France international Nicolas Anelka.
Drogba will join up with his new team mates in July after
his contract with Chelsea expires and Batista could not wait for
the powerful forward, known as 'The Beast' in China, to arrive.
"I personally would like him to be at the club as soon as
possible," Batista said.
"My only wish is that he keeps a good fitness level because
he has not been playing football for a while."
While the transfer of Drogba, on a reported wage of $300,000
a week, attracted global headlines, some fans in China were
disappointed that so much money was going to one player and not
being invested in developing young local players for the
However, Shanghai defender Dai Lin believed the arrival of
Drogba can be beneficial in improving standards.
"The transfer of Drogba is a good thing for both our team as
well as for Chinese football," Dai told reporters.
"We have much to learn from such an international football
star, such as his professionalism and football skills. And after
all, Drogba is someone who has won the European Champions
Shanghai players and supporters will be hopeful Drogba, who
scored the decisive penalty as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich to win
the Champions League last month, can make an instant impact
after their disappointing start to the season.
Shanghai are 12th in the 16-team standings after a poor
opening 13 games. Batista is their third coach of the season
after they dismissed former France international Jean Tigana and
ended Anelka's brief spell in temporary charge, despite protests
by the striker who wanted to continue.
"Everyone in our team is very happy because we have been
hoping for this announcement for a long time," Shanghai
midfielder Yu Tao said.
"Our players expressed their happiness and hope that with
his transfer, we can perform much better in the second half of
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John