Tim Cahill has had his contract terminated by Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua as the impending arrival of Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins in Shanghai appears to have bumped him out.
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Cahill, 36, only signed a new deal with the CSL outfit last November but on Tuesday he announced he will no longer play in China and cited the reason behind his departure was due to not being in the plans of Shenhua’s new coach Gregorio Manzano.
Some reports from Australia claim he will join the Western Sydney Wanderers of the A-League as he returns home for what could be the final chapter in his career, but the former New York Red Bulls forward is likely to also have plenty of interest from Major League Soccer, the Middle East and elsewhere in China as he aims to continue his career.
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Cahill had the following to say via Instagram, as he added that the “new chapter is coming soon” and he will announce more details in the next 48 hours.
“I’m very sorry to announce that I have reached an agreement with Shanghai Shenhua to terminate my contract after being told that I’m not part of the new coach Manzano’s plans for the 2016 season having only just signed a new contract in November,” Cahill said. “This is very sad especially after what I feel I have helped to build in Shanghai Shenhua on and off the park. Just thinking about saying goodbye to my team-mates and especially the amazing fans is heartbreaking. Regardless of whether my contract is being honored and paid out in full, I would much rather have seen it out and finished what we started.”
Despite his age Cahill has continued to produce very decent numbers both in MLS with the Red Bulls — 14 goals in 62 appearances — and in China. The former Everton midfielders appears to have his heart set on representing the Socceroos at the 2018 World Cup in Russia which would be his and Australia’s fourth-straight appearance at the World Cup. He is Australia’s all-time leading scorer with 45 goals in 88 appearances.
The Australian national team veteran scored 12 goals in 32 appearances for Shenhua but with plenty of CSL clubs splashing the cash in the lead up to the start of the 2016 season, Cahill perhaps felt the writing was on the wall.
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Shenhua have signed Colombian international midfielder Fredy Guarin and Senegalese striker Demba Ba already, plus have Colombian forward Giovanni Moreno on the books. In each CSL side you are allowed four overseas players and one player from another country in the Asian Football Confederation. Cahill was taking up an overseas slot at Shenhua with Adam Papadopoulos taking the Asian player spot.
Therefore, if the reports stating that Martins will sign for Shenhua are true then someone had to go. It was Cahill. That said, don’t feel too sorry for him, he was being paid a reported $7.1 million per season but it appears that’s been paid in full for the 2016 CSL campaign.