In what would be an incredible turn of events, Champions League winner Didier Drogba could be set to exit Shanghai Shenhua without kicking a ball for the Chinese outfit.
Drogba signed on a free transfer for the Nicolas Anelka-managed side only a matter of days ago, but Barcelona are now hopeful of taking advantage of a clause in the forward’s contract.
Said clause is that Drogba is free to negotiate with Barcelona only, the sole club afforded the luxury of being able to sign him for no fee via the terms of his Shanghai deal.
Now, the Ivorian star may be set to turn his back on a £200,000 per week agreement in the Far East, and will meet with representatives of Catalan giants Barca on Wednesday.
A fairytale ending to his Chelsea career proved Drogba still has the fitness and ability to perform at the very top level, as the 34-year-old showed himself to be integral to the Blues’ FA Cup and Champions League success of last season.
Indeed, Drogba’s showings over two legs against Barcelona in last year’s Champions League semi-final were one of the main contributory factors to the Spanish side’s exit from the competition.
The powerful striker caused no end of problems for last year’s defending champions, and his unique blend of pace and strength could yet terrorise La Liga defences next term.
However, a statement Drogba posted on his own website after signing with Shanghai would seem to indicate he would be happy in China should the Barca move fail to materialise.
“I can inform you that I have signed with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua FC for a two and a half year deal. I will fly out to join up with the squad in July,” he said.
“I have considered all the offers I have received in the past few weeks, but feel that Shanghai Shenhua FC is the right move for me at this time.”