The Straits Times
Published on Dec 26, 2012

Big money, but is football in China worth it?


SHANGHAI (AFP) - If Frank Lampard is to swap Chelsea for China, he might do well to first consider the colourful experiences of his former team-mates Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

Pay disputes, off-pitch rows and an alien culture have seen many of the foreign stars to have joined the Chinese Super League beating down the door to get out again, sometimes months after arriving, after being unable to settle.

Former France striker Anelka became the first genuine world football figure to play in China when he was snapped up by Shanghai Shenhua for a widely reported 175,000 pounds (S$345,185) a week 10 months ago.

He was joined in Shanghai in the summer by Drogba, who signed for an eye-watering 200,000 pounds a week. But the 33-year-old Anelka quickly saw his move turn sour and is in talks with the club to leave, with reports suggesting Drogba might go with him.