Joel Griffiths happy to stay in China

FORMER Jets golden boy Joel Griffiths has ended talk of a return to Newcastle and spoken of a ‘‘surreal’’ training session at Shanghai Shenhua with former English Premier League stars Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.

Griffiths is off contract at the Chinese Super League club and had recently expressed an interest in a homecoming.

‘‘My manager received three offers from Chinese clubs and I’ve had some interest from some A-League teams but no contact from the Jets,’’ Griffiths told the Newcastle Herald yesterday.

‘‘I’m cool with that – they are busy preparing for the championship and what-not.’’

The Jets have been searching the globe for a proven goal scorer.

Jets assistant coach Craig Deans said on Tuesday that they ‘‘had narrowed it down to three or four who tick a majority of boxes’’.

Griffiths is the Jets’ all-time leading goal scorer with 28, was the league’s golden boot and Johnny Warren medal winner and was instrumental in the Jets’ 2007-08 championship success.

‘‘Returning to Australia at the end of my contract is definitely a strong possibility,’’ Griffiths said a fortnight ago.

‘‘If it happens, the Jets would be my first choice. Hopefully the fact I’m a proven scorer, somebody who can get maybe 10 a season, would work in my favour and make me attractive to teams.’’

The 32-year-old is expected to return from a knee injury against Guangzhou on Sunday.

He trained alongside Drogba and Anelka yesterday for the first time.

‘‘I will never forget training today,’’ Griffiths said. ‘‘Just me, Drogba and Anelka doing shooting. It was amazing.

‘‘I’m still on a high. It was so surreal.’’

Drogba has signed a 2-year contract worth a reported $409,000 a week to join former Chelsea teammate Anelka at the Chinese club.

Shanghai Shenhua, who are struggling in 13th spot in the 16-club league, are coached by former Argentina boss Sergio Batista.

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