Shenhua's assistant spokesperson Ma Yue confirmed to the Shanghai Daily that talks with Anelka's brother, who acts as the player's agent, have been positive and an agreement is not too far away.
"It will be a three-year contract and will involve both football and commercial cooperation," Ma was quoted as saying.
Club chairman Zhu Jun added fuel to the rumour by posting a note on his blog hinting at Anelka's possible arrival before revealing the news to the local media.
"We started to talk about every detail from the first minute of the negotiations," he said.
"The whole contract is made up of details. It's comprehensive and complicated, involving the player's image and the commercial cooperation."