So last week, using intellectual foresight I spoke about the quiet off-season Shanghai Shenhua were having. Well, how wrong I was. The day following publication, they went and signed former Everton, New York Red Bulls and Australia attacking midfielder Tim Cahill. Arguably one of, if not the the greatest Australian footballer of all-time, Tim Cahill, even at 35 represents a major coup for Shenhua. Not only does he provide that veteran experience and almost certain goals from midfield, he comes from Australia therefore does not take up one of Shenhua's international player spots, but just the Asia Pacific place in the squad.
There are also rumours doing the rounds on the ever reliable internet; that Shenhua are looking at signing former Arsenal and Real Madrid international Julio 'The Beast' Baptista. Whilst a midfield combo featuring these two would not be the most dynamic, it certainly will provide flair and attacking prowess in abundance.
For the nearly-rans in the Chinese Basketball League, the season has now finished, leaving the top 8 to take a run at the play-offs and possibly championship glory. Shanghai Sharks ended their campaign with an easy victory over Chongqing to round out a 17 and 21 season. As the rebuild begins for next season, the identity of Shanghai's next foreign stars is up in the air. On the back of a near 30 point per game season, Michael Beasley is back in the US and has to be looking for a team. Maybe Doc Rivers will take a punt on him continuing his scoring exploits whilst star player Blake Griffin recovers from surgery. As for fellow American Bernard James, who ended the season with a respectful 19 points 11 rebound average, he has just agreed terms with western play-off contender Dallas Mavericks. At this point whether either will return to light up Pudong next season is up in the air.
WORDS BY JAMES BUTLER
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