Shanghai, May 25
Former Argentina manager Sergio Daniel Batista arrived in China on Friday and is expected to take charge of Nicolas Anelka’s Shanghai Shenhua in the coming days.
Batista, who led Argentina to Olympic gold in 2008, looks set to take the hot seat vacated by Frenchman Jean Tigana, who was sacked last month by the ambitious Chinese Super League club.
"He arrived this morning," a club official told AFP, but declined to say when Batista would take over and he is yet to formally sign a contract.
The Argentine is however expected to be in place after observing Sunday’s match between struggling Shenhua and fifth-placed Guizhou Renhe, the Oriental Sports Daily said.
Batista touched down in Shanghai with several assistant coaches and Shenhua fans greeted him at the airport, the Xinmin Evening news said.
Star French striker Anelka has been acting as player-coach while Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge -- a former DR Congo national manager -- served as acting head coach following Tigana’s bitter departure.
The appointment of a new head coach has apparently upset Anelka, who in an interview with a Chinese newspaper threatened to quit, but on Thursday blamed a lack of communication and said he would stay.
Anelka, the most high-profile foreign footballer to sign for the Chinese league, joined Shenhua in January on a two-year contract for a reported salary of 234,000 euros ($307,000) a week.
Shenhua are also seeking to snap up Anelka’s former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba, fresh from his Champions League triumph.