Sat, May 10, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Sun Jihai remains upbeat despite doubt about future

AFP , BEIJING

Liverpool forward Fernando Torres, left, is beaten to the ball by Manchester City's Sun Jihai during their English Premier League match in Liverpool, England, on May 4.

PHOTO: AFP

Sun Jihai's future at Manchester City is in doubt, with reports saying he will not be offered a new contract, but the Chinese star remains upbeat with other English clubs showing an interest.

Sun, 30, has played 150 games for City since joining in February 2002 from domestic league champions Dalian and he is the only player remaining from that era, along with captain Richard Dunne.

But Britain’s Daily Mirror reported this week that China’s most successful overseas export would be shown the door at the end of the season by Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra.

Sun, the first Chinese player to score a goal in England’s top flight, told local media he was in the dark, but admitted other Premier League and Championship clubs had approached him.

“No one from the club told me or my agent that the club would not extend the contract. So, before the final decision is announced, nothing is guaranteed,” he was quoted as saying by the China Daily. “Six years and 150 matches. How could you have such a record if you have no ability? I am only 30 and I feel I’m still at my best.”

Sun said he would prefer to remain at City.

“It’s for sure that I have become emotionally linked to the city. And I’ve got used to everything here. My first choice is to stay at Manchester City,” he said. “Clubs in the Premier League and Championship are very interested. A Premier League club even faxed me the draft contract. But I cannot tell you which club. The league has not finished yet and I think it will take some time to know the final result. Fans do not have to be worried about me. I can 100 percent stay in England if I want to.”

City play their final game of the season this weekend against Middlesbrough before embarking on a promotional tour of Asia, with matches in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

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