SHANGHAI, China (AP) — Former Argentina coach Sergio Batista is expected to sign with Shanghai Shenhua in yet another high-profile hiring by a Chinese Super League team.
The club said on its website it has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to introduce its new coach. No other details were given.
Batista has been in China since Friday and met Monday with Shenhua's star signing, former Chelsea player Nicolas Anelka, who has been leading a five-man coaching lineup since the departure of Jean Tigana of France last month.
The 49-year-old Batista helped Argentina win the 1986 World Cup as a player and coached the Argentine Olympic squad to the gold medal in Beijing.
Chinese teams have recently begun emerging from years of poor management and match-fixing scandals to splurge on foreign coaches and players, a reflection of China's growing economic might and thirst for global recognition. Shanghai also has been linked to a move for Anelka's former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba.
Chinese clubs hope the big names will boost sponsorship and give the league wider recognition, although the dearth of homegrown talent remains a glaring problem for the national team, perennial underperformers in international competition.
Among other the recent signings, Super League champion Guangzhou Evergrande broke the Chinese transfer spending record to sign Argentine playmaker Dario Conca for $10 million from Fluminense, reportedly making him the third-highest paid player in the world.
The Guangzhou followed up this month by hiring coach Marcello Lippi, who guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup title.