LONDON — Shanghai Shenhua’s talks with Didier Drogba are continuing “just as planned”, a report said yesterday, raising expectations the striker will move to China after announcing his departure from Chelsea.
Shenhua, bankrolled by colourful video-game mogul Zhu Jun, signed Drogba’s ex-Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka in December and they have been in talks with the Ivory Coast international since at least January.
“As of now, Shenhua’s negotiations with Drogba are continuing just as planned,” Zhu told the Oriental Sports Daily.
Drogba (34) revealed he was quitting English Premiership giants Chelsea on Tuesday, just days after his match-winning performance in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Drogba scored a late equaliser as well as the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out. Since joining Chelsea from Marseille in 2004, he has tallied 157 goals in 341 appearances, helping the club win 10 trophies.
“It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved, but the time is right for a new challenge for me,” he told Chelsea’s website.
Drogba would be the latest star signing for China’s increasingly big-spending Super League, after World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi joined Guangzhou Evergrande last week.
Drogba is one of the Premier League’s most successful strikers and he departs Chelsea as their fourth all-time highest scorer. His 34 goals in European competition is a club record by 10 goals.
During his eight seasons at Stamford Bridge he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and the Champions League title.