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Friday, 20 January 2012

Drogba to leave Chelsea for Shanghai - Report

London: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is on his way out of Stamford Bridge in the summer to join Chinese Super League team Shanghai Shenhua, according to The Guardian.

The striker's contract with the Blues expires at the end of the season, and it is thought the Ivorian is seeking a two-year extension, but the club is only willing to offer an additional 12 months, which Drogba has reportedly refused.

Former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka joined the Shanghai club at the end of last year on a two-year deal believed to be worth £200,000 a week, but a move for Drogba is expected to top that, with his three-and-a-half-year contract potentially reaching £270,000 per week.

"Everything is going well so far, though there have been a few obstacles," said Shenhua board member Zhou Jun.

The Ivory Coast star is currently representing his country at the African Cup of Nations and the West Londoners are thought to be unwilling to sell him in the current transfer window, but are powerless to prevent him from settling a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs, with L'Equipe stating that Drogba is set to be "the first great African sportsman to play in China".

The former Marseille star was the Premier League's top scorer as Chelsea won the Double in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti, but he has struggled for goals this campaign, netting just six times in 17 appearances.

Shanghai finished 11th in China's 16-team top flight last season, but have added French manager Jean Tigana, as well as Anelka for the upcoming campaign.

"It's like flirting with a girl. Perhaps she will resist you at first, but if you continue to ask her out, it always ends well. Never give up," said Zhu Jun, the club's spokesman on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

"It's like making a blockbuster film. When superstars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Zhou Xun have confirmed their participation, other actors and actresses will be confident of the movie," Zhu added in The Shanghai Daily.

The Chinese Super League has swiftly emerged as one of the world's richest leagues, with wages exploding in recent years. Former Argentinian Under-20 international Dario Conca reportedly became the third-best paid player in the world, behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o at Anzhi Makachkala, when he joined Guangzhou Evergrande from Fluminense.

Meanwhile, according to reports in L'Equipe, Shanghai also want to sign Lorient attacker Innocent Emeghara, a Switzerland international who hasn't settled in Brittany.


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