Chelsea's Didier Drogba reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in London, Dec 31, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
China's super league defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande denied the link with Chelsea striker Didier Drogba on Sunday.
"We have no contact with Drogba whatsoever, nor the club have authorized anyone to contact him," the club said in a "solemn announcement" on its official website.
"The recent Drogba report is pure speculation, he is not in our plan," said a club's top official.
"Our reinforcements will be under strict standard including the player's age and potential," said the announcement.
Guangzhou does not lack of ambition in the transfer market. Last season, Argentine Dario Conca smashed the league record of $7 million to join Guangzhou Evergrande, the club also splashed out $7.5 million on Brazilian forward Cleo and Muriqui.
The club's owner Xu Jiayin also promised to pour in more than $100 million for the team this year as they set sight to international fame after winning first CSL title.
But Guangzhou's announcement concluded the involvement of the CSL defending champions in the chasing of Drogba, which may leave Shanghai Shenhua the only possible buyer of the Chelsea Striker who is embroiled in a transfer saga.
The 34-year old Cote d'Ivoire was reported to have a "great possibility" to move from the London Blues to China, according to both English and Chinese media.
Shanghai Shenhua, who had already signed Drogba's teammate Nicolas Anelka, were believed as the most likely to double their sharpness with Drogba.
But the Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou said last month that they are waiting for next Anelka in CSL.
"I am waiting for next Anelka to join our league," said Liu Yongzhuo, president of Guangzhou Evergrande football club. "We will wait Guangzhou for ten days, if they do not act, we will do (to sign Drogba)", Shanghai Shenhua's owner Zhu Jun said on Saturday.
The two clubs' ambiguity triggered various guesses that both clubs are running to sign the Chinese the second Chelsea forward. But Guangzhou's clear denying may leave Shanghai the sole buyer of Drogba in China.
"They may already signed Drogba, 80 percent possibility, Zhu's words may be just for hyping," a Guangzhou club official said.