[QODLink]
Football
Drogba close to Shanghai deal
Former Chelsea striker expected to announce he will join Chinese big spenders Shanghai Shenhua this week.
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2012 10:32
Drogba's move to Shanghai has been the subject of speculation for months after the Ivory Coast striker announced his departure from European Champions Chelsea last season [Reuters]

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba's long-expected move to big-spending Shanghai Shenhua has been confirmed by the Chinese club's owner, media reports said on Tuesday.

Zhu Jun, who reportedly visited Drogba's native Ivory Coast last week, said the 34-year-old was joining the club, but said no date for his arrival has been set and refused to discuss terms of his contract, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Unconfirmed local reports said Shenhua was willing to offer the striker as much as $15 million per year. A club spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports, saying an official notice would be posted to its website.

Backed by Zhu's online gaming fortune, Shenhua has already hired former Argentina coach Sergio Batista and another former Chelsea player, Nicolas Anelka.

Endless speculation

Drogba's move to Shenhua has been speculated for months. He had also been approached by Al Wasl of the United Arab Emirates, coached by Diego Maradona, but its bid was less than Shenhua was believed offering.

Drogba capped his Chelsea career by scoring the equalising goal and then the penalty shootout winner in Chelsea's win over Bayern Munich in last month's UEFA Champions League final.

Prior to his nine years at Chelsea, he had spells at French clubs LeMans, Guingamp and Marseille.

Chinese club football has long been dogged by mismanagement and corruption, with the level of performance trailing well behind that of neighbours South Korea and Japan. But rapidly escalating salaries are beginning to attract big-name players while authorities have ramped up measures to stamp out fixing.

Among other the recent signings, Super League champion Guangzhou Evergrande broke the Chinese transfer spending record to sign Argentine playmaker Dario Conca for $10 million from Fluminense, reportedly making him the third-highest paid player in the world.

Guangzhou followed up by hiring coach Marcello Lippi, who guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup title and Juventus to the 1996 Champions League crown and five Serie A championships.

The hope is that the big names will in turn boost sponsorship and give the Chinese league wider recognition, although a lack of home-grown talent remains a problem for the perennially underperforming national team.

369

Source:
AP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.