Chelsea's Didier Drogba in action during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in London, Britain, 12 December 2011.
Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua has reportedly reached an agreement with Didier Drogba, and it appears just a matter of time before he joins the club.
According to Oriental Sports Daily, a newspaper in Shanghai, Zhou Jun, chairman of Shenhua, arrived in Paris on Thursday to secure another foreign player for the club. That player reportedly is the 33-year-old Chelsea forward.
The paper said Drogba's agent promised Shenhua will be the Ivorian striker's first choice if he chooses to play in China. The relationship between Shenhua and the Blues was formed during the sides' negotiations over former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka.
The recruiting of Anelka and French coach Jean Tigana in December were also seen as factors making Shenhua the most suitable club for Drogba in China.
According to another Chinese newspaper, Soccer, Shenhua had already planned to bring in Drogba while also negotiating with Anelka.
But the captain of the Cote d'lvoire national team, whose contract with the Blues will expire this summer, had wanted to stay in the English top league and was expecting a new two-year contract with the club.
However, English media reported negotiations between Drogba and Chelsea have come to a deadlock, and three Chinese clubs, including Shenhua, Dalian Aerbin and Guangzhou Evergrande, have been competing for the forward's services. Evergrande is believed to have offered 400,000 pounds ($ 624,100) per week for Drogba, and Dalian confirmed it had contacted Drogba.