Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has been linked with a shock move to Spanish giants Barcelona, just days after signing a contract with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, according to reports. An earlier IBTimes UK report confirmed the Ivorian international had signed a deal with Shenhua last week and a note on the player's Web site seemed to have sealed the deal.
"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. 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," the 34 year old wrote on his Web site.
However, amid reports of interest from Barcelona, ESPN reports there is a clause in the striker's contract that will allow him to move to Barcelona on a free transfer. The Daily Mail reports the Ivorian is expected to arrive in the Spanish city on Tuesday to discuss a potential move with Catalan chiefs.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit and Spanish football correspondent Guillem Balague seems to have similar information - on the existence of a clause in Drogba's deal with Shenhua that will allow him to join the La Liga giants for free.
"In Spain it is being reported that Didier Drogba is arriving tomorrow to Barcelona to sign for FC Barcelona... Drogba has got a clause that allows him to leave Shangai Shenhua for free if Barcelona came calling. He will meet the Spanish club tomorrow," Balague tweeted.
However Balague, who is currently preparing a biography of former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola to be published in September, doubts the move will go ahead.
"Despite the meeting tomorrow, Barcelona club sources say they won't sign Drogba, wages too high... Got to the bottom of the Drogba story reported in Spanish press. FCB say they don't want him. Drogba's people say he will join Shangai in July," he pointed out.
Drogba left Chelsea at the end of last season after leading the club to their maiden Champions League title and an FA Cup win to salvage an otherwise disappointing season.
"I am looking forward to a new challenge, to experiencing a new culture, and excited about the new developments in the Chinese Super League. When Chelsea went to China last year, we had a great time and I met some amazing fans. I hope to help promote Chinese football around the world and further improve the links between China and Africa," the two-time African Footballer of the Year stressed.
Drogba netted 157 times in all competitions for Chelsea, including 100 goals in 226 league appearances, since signing from Marseille for £24mn in 2004.