Drogba to leave unless Chelsea improve offer

 

Didier Drogba remains confident he can play at the highest level for at least two more years, though the reluctance of Chelsea's hierarchy to hand the Ivorian anything more than a 12-month extension to his contract is likely to mean the 33-year-old will be forced to leave the club this summer if he is to do so.

The striker's crucial double strike against Valencia took his tally to four goals in his last four games after a difficult start to the season in which he underwent surgery on his elbow, was sidelined by a head injury and missed three games for his dismissal in Andre Villas-Boas' side's heated defeat by Queens Park Rangers in the west London derby.

The former Marseilles forward's return to form, capped against the Spanish team on Tuesday night, seemed to secure his place as the Portuguese's front-line striker ahead of Fernando Torres, but neither Villas-Boas – who remains conscious of the need to reduce his squad's average age – nor the club's hierarchy, aware that Chelsea's wage bill must be reduced if they are to comply with Uefa's looming Financial Fair Play regulations, are as yet prepared to offer him the two-year deal he craves. With Drogba not prepared to contemplate the compromise of a short-term offer, the impasse over his contract is yet to be bridged. "I hope I have got at least a couple of years left in me," said the striker. "I started late. I was 25 when I played my first Champions League games. I feel happy, I feel good on the pitch, I really enjoy my football and when we are winning like [this] I am really delighted.

"I am not yet 100 per cent fit. Everyone has seen that I have lost a lot of goals [compared to my usual return] and this is something I hope my fitness will help me to improve. When I get to 100 per cent there are a few mistakes I will try to rectify. Injuries have not helped this season, the knock on the head, the red card, the surgery. They didn't help me to get my fitness. Now I'm having more games and it's going to come back. I hope it will come quickly, but it is going to come back."

Drogba's agent, Thierno Seydi, has previously insisted that his client will use a potential free transfer to sign for whichever club "will pay him the most money". A number of sides in Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Major League Soccer – including David Beckham's alma mater, Los Angeles Galaxy – are likely to match his demands, while the striker would no doubt be tempted by the prospect of a return to Marseilles, the club where he made his name. Unsurprisingly, Harry Redknapp has confessed that he, too, would welcome the chance to take Drogba to Tottenham. No move, though, will materialise in January.

Drogba's clubmate Nicolas Anelka, meanwhile, is believed to have agreed terms with the ambitious Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua after handing in a transfer request. The former French international, along with the Brazilian defender Alex – a £2m target for Juventus – has been exiled to train with the youth team by Villas-Boas after the Portuguese suggested the pair's "mindset" was not in line with the rest of his squad. The former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool striker would stand to become one of the best-paid players in the world if he moves to the cash-rich Chinese Premier League, where the unheralded Argentine Dario Conca was last year handed a salary bettered only by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to join Ghuangzhou Evergrande.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThe ZX Spectrum is going back on sale - with all your favourite retro games
Sport
football
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

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk