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The 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal winning coach is close to signing a one-and-a-half year contract to take over at Nicolas Anelka's Chinese club after Jean Tigana's exit

Former Argentina national team boss Sergio Batista is set to become the new coach of struggling Chinese big-spenders Shanghai Shenhua, according to reports.

The 49-year-old, who has not worked since stepping down as Argentina coach following the 2011 Copa America, will replace interim boss Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge, who has been assisted by Nicolas Anelka following Jean Tigana's dismissal in April.

An anonymous club official told Sina Sports that Batista was in negotiations with Shenhua and would sign a one-and-a-half-year contract in the next few days.

Despite the arrival of French star Anelka from Chelsea, Shenhua are languishing down in 14th place on the Chinese Super League, which has led owner Zhu Jun into his managerial changes.

"The club has already started to find a new boss, and tried to get him working as soon as possible. The team should resume the training and the plan for the next transfer window," Zhu wrote on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, on Monday.

Batista took the Argentina Under-23 team to the 2008 Beijing Olympics where they won the gold medal.

Meanwhile, Anelka failed to appear at Shenhua training on Tuesday prompting reports that he was disappointed with the move, although the 33-year-old striker claimed it was due to his brother's illness.

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