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Shenhua sign Mario Bozic, Loan Deal for Reading’s Mathieu Manset almost finalized

Mario Bozic - Shenhua's new Bosnian midfielder

Shanghai Shenhua have agreed terms with English Championship side Reading to loan young French forward Mathieu Manset for six months, according to the Chinese football media.

The deal for the 23-year-old will be signed tomorrow, reports Sina, citing a high-level source inside Shenhua, and will cost the Shanghai side a total of 900,000 euros ($1.2 million). The news appears not to be anywhere on the English language Internet at the moment, but interestingly Manset’s Wikipedia page has already been updated to reflect his loan move to Shenhua.

The former Le Havre striker joined Reading in 2011 from English fourth tier side Hereford United and has scored five goals in 21 appearances. The length of the loan contract is noteworthy, because in six month’s time, the Chinese Super League’s summer transfer window opens and Manset returning to Reading at this point would free up a space for Drogba to come to Shenhua. Speculation over whether the Ivory Coast striker will join Shenhua has been ongoing for quite some time but Nicolas Anelka suggested during his first meeting with the media since coming to Shanghai that there is a good chance Drogba will join Shenhua in the summer. However, Turkish media are also reporting Shenhua have signed Turkey international midfielder Emre Belözoğlu in a 3.3 million euro deal which would see him join in the summer. So it appears that Shenhua will keep the international football media’s rumour mill turning for a while yet.

There is solid Shenhua transfer news to report however. The club today officially unveiled the identity of their fourth foreign player – Bosnian midfielder Mario Božić. The 28-year-old, who has been capped by Bosnia Herzegovina twice, joins from Israeli club FC Ashdod. The length of his contract is unclear, but he has been officially unveiled on Shenhua’s official website. The video on the left shows Božić in action.

Shenhua also sealed the signing of Brazilian defender Moisés from Qatar side Al Rayyan last week – meaning that if Manset joins, the club will have no more foreign player slots left in the squad.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.

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