Chelsea Transfer News: Leading Contenders to Steal Didier Drogba from the Blues

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IIMay 18, 2012

MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 18:  In this handout image provided by UEFA, Didier Drogba looks on during the Chelsea press conference, ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fuflball Arena München on May 18, 2012 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Handout/UEFA via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Didier Drogba has been incredible for Chelsea during their Champions League run, but his excellent form may cause another club to pry the striker away from Stamford Bridge.

A gutsy performance in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against Barcelona reminded the football world how good Drogba still is.

In a strange twist, it is the Catalan giants that are the favorites to sign the Ivorian. 

Here's why Barça and two other clubs have the means and the motive to buy the Blues' striker.


1. Barcelona

Drogba has fumed over being left on the bench at times this season, and Blaugrana are poised to capitalize on any rift between player and management.

The Spanish side lost striker David Villa to injury early this season, and looked thin on the attacking line at times.

Barça still had a remarkably productive offense in comparison with other clubs, but the Catalonians measure themselves by a different set of standards. 

The team will finish the season without any major trophies, and that is not acceptable for a club of their caliber.  Changes have already been made to the coaching staff with Pep Guardiola stepping down, and new players will likely be brought in as well.

Rumors state that Drogba may be available on a free transfer, and if this is the case, Barcalena will jump at the chance to sign him.


2. Tottenham Hotspurs

When talk started of Drogba possibly moving from Chelsea for free, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was quick to voice his interest

Drogba's contract is expiring after this season and the striker is 34, so the free move is not that outlandish of a possibility.

Redknapp also showed concerns over the striker's wage demands being too high, and thought Drogba might bolt for China in order to pad his pockets.

With the form that Drogba has been in recently, it's hard to imagine him leaving the English Premier League for drastically worse competition. He's playing like he still has something to prove, and a move within London would allow him to continue to make his case.


3. Shanghai Shenhua

The easiest way to predict the future is to follow the money, and right now it's coming from China.

While European clubs seem unwilling to pay anything for Drogba, the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua is reportedly willing to fork over £6.7 million in transfer fees and pay him £130,000 a week.

He would also join former teammate Nicolas Anelka, who is a player-manager for the club.

Drogba's legacy would take a hit because of the Chinese league's lack of talent, but that type of money will be difficult to pass up.


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