Chelsea left hanging by in-demand and out-of-contract Didier Drogba

Suitors hover as contract impasse sees striker put off talks until end of season

Didier Drogba has told Chelsea he does not want further talks on his future until the end of the season, leaving it ever more likely that the 34-year-old striker, who has been such a key figure in the club's two semi-final wins over the last six days, will leave for nothing in the summer.

Drogba has rejected a one-year deal and there have been no further talks to resolve the situation, prompting the player and his representatives to decide that they will wait until the end of the season to make a decision. By then Drogba is expected to have fleshed out a number of offers from across Europe, Major League Soccer in America and in China.

The striker, who has been at Chelsea for eight years, is convinced he can play on at a high level into his late 30s because his professional career began relatively late. It is only 10 years since he first played in the top flight in France, having signed for Guingamp.

So far the club have refused to offer Drogba, the match-winner against Barcelona on Wednesday, anything more than a one-year deal. Ideally, Drogba would like another two years at Chelsea and then make a lucrative free-agent move away from the Premier League.

As it stands, he will be a target for the likes of Tottenham and potentially Liverpool should he stay in the Premier League. He has decided that he will assess his options after the season finishes, possibly with a Champions League final, and before his contract runs out at the end of June.

Under Andre Villas-Boas the plan was that Drogba would leave in the summer and while that is still the most likely outcome, the player's performances of late have shown how hard he will be to replace. His goals against Spurs at Wembley last Sunday and Barcelona took him to 155 in 336 appearances, fourth on the all-time list of Chelsea goalscorers.

Drogba's display against Barcelona drew criticism for the amount of time he spent on the ground and complaining to the referee about challenges. He said after the game that one kick to his groin from Carles Puyol had given him cause for concern. "I think my wife would have been worried about that one," Drogba said.

Isolated in attack and charged with holding the ball up on his own, Drogba said that it had been a difficult, although rewarding, evening. "Every time I got the ball I looked up and the goal seemed really far away, like on the M25," he said. "It's quite difficult to play against them. They are a really good team."

Others were less charitable towards Drogba's tendency to make the most of any challenge from a defender. Wayne Rooney tweeted during the game: "Drogba. Your [sic] a good player but pls get up".

Andres Iniesta said that Chelsea's approach to the game had "taken advantage of their strong points". He said: "We created some chances but we weren't able to get the goals. That is the only thing that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. We generated enough chances to have won the game. But we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

Chelsea have also been told that the Brazilian playmaker Willian, who they came close to signing from Shakhtar Donetsk for £16m in January, would be available this summer for around £20m. The 23-year-old played in the Brazil Under-20 team with Ramires and David Luiz but the major stumbling block is his current ineligibility for a UK work permit.

Mircea Lucescu, the Shakhtar manager, said yesterday. "They have to pay the price because we bring the players here at 17 or 18 years old. We pay a lot of money because they are talented players and we bring them up. I have 23 or 24 [players like that], not only Willian.

"Luiz Adriano, Douglas Costa, Alex Teixeira, Dentinho, Alan Patrick – they are very young and they are already prepared to win the championship with a good mentality. They have played a lot of matches in Europe and they have a very, very good value.

"If Chelsea pay his [asking price], I am not against letting my players play for the big clubs. If they pay the price, he can go. If not, he will remain here because he has another two and a half years [on his] contract."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence