Shanghai fans not surprised at Drogba and Anelka departure
Updated: 2013-01-31 15:29
Drogba, currently on international duty at the African Nations Cup in South Africa, said the lure of playing in the Champions League proved too strong.
Although he scored eight goals in his 11 appearances, he had been courting an escape route out of China and failed with an appeal to FIFA to go on loan before the January transfer window opened.
"There are a lot of problems with Shenhua. Drogba is still at his peak. He can play in the European Champions League. I would feel good to see him (in) Europe," 26-year-old fan Zhang Yiming said.
Some of those problems were reportedly unpaid wages.
Internet tycoon owner Zhu Jun, who used Anelka to promote his online game business, blamed the problems on shareholders reneging on deals while many questioned his commitment as the club finished ninth in the 16-team league.
Soccer fans in the world's most-populous country also took to Weibo, a popular micro-blogging platform, to lament the departures.
"Shenhua now becomes a big joke," one blogger posted, while another commented: "Anelka is gone! So is Drogba! Shenhua, what are you doing! It is such a shame for our Chinese people!"
With the new Chinese Super League season not kicking off until March, Shanghai Shenhua still have time to find replacements for the former Chelsea pair.
However, with champions Guangzhou Evergrande set to win the battle to retain marquee Argentine signing Dario Conca, while also adding 23-year-old Brazilian playmaker Elkeson, Shanghai's title hopes appear even slimmer.