Shenhua captain Moreno linked to Nacional
Colombian club Atletico Nacional is interested in signing Shanghai Greenland Shenhua captain Giovanni Moreno, though the Chinese Super League club said no discussions have taken place between the two clubs.
According to Xinhua news agency, Nacional’s newly appointed manager Jorge Almiron expressed his wish to have the 31-year-old midfielder in his squad for the 2018 season during a press conference after he replaced Manuel Lillo earlier this month.
“There is no question about his (Moreno’s) quality. We hope to reach an agreement and have him in our squad. It would be a pleasure to have a player of his class,” said the Argentine.
Moreno played for Nacional from 2008 to 2010 before joining Argentina's Racing Club. He moved to Shenhua in 2012 and has a contract until the end of 2019.
According to some Colombian media, Nacional plans to pay a "rental fee" to Shenhua, though the CSL side will still be responsible for the Colombian’s salary during his away tenure.
Shenhua said on Thursday that the club has not discussed the issue with Nacional yet.
After being called into the Colombian national team, Moreno said in earlier interviews that he hopes to go temporarily play elsewhere to maintain his form and fitness when the CSL goes into its offseason period. The player obviously has his eyes on next year's World Cup finals in Russia, for which Colombia has qualified. The World Cup kicks off on June 14, 2018.
Shenhua has expressed support for its captain in lieu of his contribution to the club, saying that it would respect Moreno’s own decision (on whether to temporarily join another club during the CSL break).
Moreno was one of Shenhua's most consistent performers during the 2017 season. Despite a disappointing 11th-place finish in the CSL, Shenhua won its second Chinese FA Cup trophy after beating city rival Shanghai SIPG in the two-legged final.
The CFA title gave Shenhua a spot in the 2018 AFC Champions League, with its first group-stage match against J League side Kashima Antlers to be held on February 14 — two weeks before the 2018 CSL kicks off on March 2.
Shenhua is currently holding its one-month winter training in Spain’s Marbella. Moreno has been informed to join his teammates in Spain on January 4.
According to earlier reports, if Moreno confirms his temporary departure, Shenhua would likely recall 25-year-old Paraguayan midfielder Oscar Romero, who is currently playing for Spanish club Deportivo Alaves on loan.