HEADING EAST: Tim Cahill celebrates with the Asian Cup last week.
HEADING EAST: Tim Cahill celebrates with the Asian Cup last week. SAEED KHANAAP

Is Cahill right to go down Chinese line?

SOCCEROOS superstar Tim Cahill is quite clearly hot property, judging by the number of clubs that were apparently chasing his services before the January transfer window closed.

But after weighing up a number of options, the 35-year-old plumped for Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, and a reported $9.6 million deal for a year with the option of a second season depending on a number of factors for both parties.

Whether that was the right choice for Cahill, only time will tell, but what is quite clear is that A-League clubs never really stood a chance of getting him to come home at this stage of his career.

Cahill admitted there had been some interest from Sydney FC, but it is understandable if Sky Blues chief executive Tony Pignata thought that Cahill, how ever much he would bring to the club, was out of the price range for now.

There is no doubt that Cahill would bring more to the A-League than Alessandro Del Piero, but is he really worth breaking the bank for?

At this stage that answer is probably no. But that does not mean that in two years, officials from Australian clubs should not give Cahill another ring and ask him where his future lies.

Cahill looks like the sort of player who just wants to go on and on. He is fit enough to carry on playing for a few years yet, and down the line would still be worth a gamble for an A-League club.

The question for now is, was China the way to go for Cahill?

English Premier League stars Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka both struggled to make an impact for Shenhua, and left claiming salaries were unpaid.

Australian player Joel Griffiths is also chasing cash owed to him (allegedly about $200,000) and claimed previous owner Zhu Jun, a Chinese internet gaming tycoon, sold him short.

Money issues apart, the move to China seems to be the right one for Cahill at this point in his career.

I don't think he was ever going back to the EPL as he had nothing to prove there.

He could have gone to Europe, and reading between the lines from his press conference on Tuesday, his former boss at Everton, David Moyes, might have almost persuaded his former player to sign for Real Sociedad in La Liga.

It is quite clear too, that Shanghai Shenhua was keen to grab an Australian striker to fulfil its Asian player spot.

It was close to signing the man many regard as the long-term replacement for Cahill in the national team, Tomi Juric.

The Wanderers and Socceroos forward initially looked like making the move, but after taking advice, reneged on the deal.

Fellow Socceroo Nathan Burns also looked like making the move, but Shenhua failed to reach an agreement with his A-League club Wellington.

Cahill is not a bad substitute for those two and I would also say that, as he has done throughout his career, the veteran will excel in his latest adventure.



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