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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?