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.
Shanghai Shenhua has kept aside jersey No. 11 for Didier Drogba, as the club announced its full list of players for the new season which kicks off on Saturday.
The club registered all the 30 players for the 2012 Chinese Super League but the "missing" No. 11 fueled speculation that it has not given up on Drogba - not just yet.
Drogba, in his negotiations with Shenhua, had laid claim to the No. 11 shirt. The Ivory Coast striker wears the same jersey number for his current club Chelsea.
"During negotiations, Drogba himself said that he liked the No. 11," the Oriental Sports Daily quoted an unnamed club official as saying yesterday. "To show the club's sincerity, we reserved the number for him."
The official also said that the club would do everything to try and sign the Chelsea striker.
"We can't say he's definitely coming. After all we're in competition with the likes of AC Milan and Anzhi," the official said. "But Shenhua hasn't given up on him yet."
Nicolas Anelka will wear No. 39 while Joel Griffiths was given No. 29. Shenhua goalkeeper Wang Dalei switched back from No. 23 to 1.