Shanghai have good chance of signing Drogba, says coach
SHANGHAI, June 14 – Shanghai Shenhua have a good chance of signing Chelsea striker Didier Drogba but need to work hard to complete the deal, coach Sergio Batista said today.
Just three days after scoring the winning penalty in Chelsea’s shootout victory over Bayern Munich in last month’s Champions League final, the Ivory Coast international (picture) announced he would be leaving the London club.
“There is a big possibility he will come (to Shenhua) but it will depend on the hard work the club puts into bringing him here,” said former Argentina midfielder Batista.
“It’s not as if the club wants someone to come here and they (automatically) come – it is not that simple.”
Former Argentina coach Batista took over at big-spending Shanghai at the end of last month, signing a six-month deal to replace sacked Frenchman Jean Tigana.
The Shenhua players, including Drogba’s former Chelsea team mate Nicolas Anelka, resumed training today following a mid-season break.
The club, ninth in the Super League, fired Tigana in April after a poor start to the season and replaced him with interim coach Jean-Florent Ibenge.
Chinese clubs have been splashing out on big-name foreign managers and players to try to raise the profile of domestic soccer.
Last month league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande appointed Italy’s former World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi after sacking South Korean Lee Jang-soo.
Drogba, 34, joined Chelsea from Olympique Marseille in 2004 and his menacing physicality was ideally suited to the fast-paced hubbub of the Premier League.
In addition to the Champions League, he also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups in a glittering career at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba scored 157 times in 341 appearances, making him the club’s fourth all-time leading scorer, while his 34 European goals are a Chelsea record. – Reuters