Chelsea Transfer News: Didier Drogba Joins Shanghai Shenhua
Former Chelsea superstar Didier Drogba has officially agreed to a deal with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, according to Sean Kilgallon of Goal.com. He will reportedly earn around £25 million during his stay, which will run through 2014.
Drogba released a statement about the move on his official web site, in which he discusses the process he went through to make a decision and his eagerness to play in China:
I studied all the offers I've received in recent weeks and I feel that going to Shanghai Shenhua is the right direction for me now. I'm looking forward to this new challenge, to discover a new culture and I am very enthusiastic about the development of Chinese football league. When we came to China with Chelsea last season, we had a great time and we met the exceptional fans.
For most of his final season with the Blues, it appeared that he was going to leave the team on a down note. A resurgence late in the season, however, helped Chelsea become one of the most surprising Champions League winners in quite some time.
No performance was a better representation of his time at Stamford Bridge than his showing in the final against Bayern Munich.
Just when it looked like Thomas Muller had secured the trophy for the German club, Drogba stepped up and scored a huge goal off a corner to tie the game. He proceeded to convert the winning penalty kick to finish his storybook ending with Chelsea.
The 34-year-old Ivory Coast international isn't the dynamic striker he was during his prime—he has battled injuries and lost a step or two—but he is certainly worth the risk for his new team.
Shanghai Shenhua finished 11th in the standings last season and currently sits in 12th as it approaches the halfway point of its current campaign. There is really little to lose by signing Drogba.
The team's biggest problem has been scoring goals. An attack led by Drogba's former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka has mustered just nine goals in 13 games, which is a major reason they are just three points above the relegation zone.
Will Drogba succeed with Shanghai Shenhua?
Drogba should have no problem bringing a little more punch to the offense while also helping to increase fan support. Any time a Chinese team can sign a major star like the longtime Blues front man, a significant boost in revenue will follow.
This is the fifth stop in Drogba's professional career. He previously played for Le Mans, Guingamp and Marseille before an extended stay with Chelsea starting in 2004.
If his time with Shanghai Shenhua is anywhere near as successful as his time with the Blues, the veteran will be worth every last penny to his new squad.
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