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Sven-Göran Eriksson to become Shanghai East Asia head coach next season?

Former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson will join Shanghai East Asia as head coach next season, a source familiar with the matter told Wild East Football.

Rumours emerged in the Swedish press over the weekend that the 66-year-old Swede will join East Asia, (also known as SIPG for sponsorship reasons) when his current contract with Guangzhou R&F expires this season.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of R&Fs big clash against fellow Asian Champions League qualification chasers Shandong Luneng, Eriksson responded to Chinese media enquries about a possbile move to East Asia by saying he did not know where he would be coaching next season.

“As regards that rumour, I really don’t know anything about it. Right now I am only interested in taking R&F into the Asian Champions League.  As far as things for next year go, I will make a decision at the end of the season – right now I am putting all my efforts and energy into getting R&F into the ACL.”

However a source told East Asia would be backed my a major new investor next season and have agreed a deal to bring Eriksson to Shanghai Stadium. understands that no announcement will be made until the current season, which finishes in two week’s time, is over.

East Asia’s club headquarters are on Chongming Island, a rural part of Shanghai Municipality over 90 minutes from the city centre. However the club will move to a new base in the city proper as part of the new investment deal, according to the source.

The 2012 China League 1 Champions will continue to play their matches at 80,000 capacity Shanghai Stadium in the Xujiahui area of the city.

According to the club’s Swedish striker Tobias Hysen, Shanghai East Asia’s defacto head coach is Xu Genbao who founded the club in 2005 but lacks the necessary coaching qualifications. Former Shenhua boss Xi Zhikang is officially head coach but Xu dominates all decisions made at the club, according to various sources.

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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