WEF Exclusive: Drogba to join Shenhua next week on two-year deal worth 14 million pounds

Didier Drogba will join Shanghai Shenhua next week, a source close to the long-running transfer saga has told , with the Chinese media reporting a two-year deal worth a whopping 14 million UK pounds is very close to being signed.

Just a couple of weeks ago, it looked as Shenhua’s efforts to capture the Ivorian striker had finally come to nothing, after Nicolas Anelka told the Chinese press he knew what Drogba’s decision over his future was, and that he would have “no regrets if Drogba didn’t join, because there are many other excellent players in the world.”

But the source told Drogba would in fact be joining Shenhua in the near future and that recent news stories to the contrary were PR stunts carried out at the behest of the club’s attention-seeking owner.

The source said, “It’s all hype, a smokescreen, orchestrated by Zhu Jun to keep the club in the headlines and divert attention from Shenhua’s lacking performances so far.  I wouldn’t say Drogba was going to sign for Shenhua all along since all this started – but all I can say now is that he is coming and will most likely sign soon after the Champions League final.”

Rumours are currently circulating on China’s social networks with  Shenhua fans describing Drogba as their club’s “savior” in waiting and saying they believe his signing is imminent.

The soonest Drogba could make his debut for Shenhua would be Shenhua’s match away to Qingdao on July 1. The Chinese Super League transfer window does not open until June 1, Drogba is likely to be involved in two Ivory Coast World Cup qualifiers on June 2 and 9, and then Chinese Super League goes on a break for a couple of weeks.

Shenhua are also believed to be interested in signing Spanish midfielder Marcos Senna, captain of Villareal, relegated from La Liga last weekend.

The Beijing Times reported that a “high level Shenhua official” said “The team needs to buy a strong midfielder in the summer transfer window, to deliver passes to Anelka and the new striker”.

Should Shenhua sign another new striker and midfielder, Mattieu Manset, who has been a total flop during his spell in the Chinese Super League, would return to Reading at the end of his loan in June, and another foreign player, most likely Bosnian midfielder Bozic, would also need to leave the club to create space on Shenhua’s foreign roster.

Author: Cameron Wilson

UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer Cameron Wilson has been writing about Chinese football since 2005 for various International and China-based news outlets such as Agence France-Presse, Goal.com, Shanghaiist, China Sports Review, That’s Shanghai, Time out Shanghai and City Weekend. In August 2010 he decided to launch a website dedicated to Chinese football as a central despository for all of his writings ont he subject.

He’s traveled all over China following Shanghai Shenhua as a fully paid-up member of its infamous Blue Devil’s supporters group.

His association with China stretches back over a decade, having first arrived in August 2000 to teach English for a year in a rural town a few hours northwest of Shanghai. He took in his first Chinese football match during this time – a 2-1 victory for Shanghai Shenhua against Dalian Shide. He went home to the UK in July 2001 but returned to China to live in Shanghai in 2005. Since then he’s been a Shanghai Shenhua season ticket holder and a member of the Blue Devil’s supporters’ club. The views expressed by him on Wild East Football may suffer from a slight bias to this effect.

He is also however, still very much a fan of his hometown team, Dunfermline Athletic. A “Par from afar”, as it were.

A passionate believer in the power of the beautiful game to build bridges between diverse peoples and cultures, he was the first foreign fan to travel with the Blue Devil fans’ club to an away match – a tremendous 3-2 victory for Shenhua over Beijng Guoan in September 2007.

Cameron speaks decent mandarin and can crack jokes in Shanghainese.

25 Responses to “WEF Exclusive: Drogba to join Shenhua next week on two-year deal worth 14 million pounds”
  1. Cam says:

    Wow, can Shanghai lend him out in the off-season to Brisbane Roar?
    What will become of Griffiths?

    • WEF Editor says:

      will probably play on the right wing, he’s been Shenhua’s second best performer this season after keeper Wang Dalei

    • bcheng says:

      That’s a damn good question. The 3 foreigners + 1 Asian rule puts them in a bind. I can’t see them dumping the Griff for an Asian defender/midfielder, in which case they play him and have 3 strikers out there (though I’m guessing Anelka will drop back). Then their hope has to be a guy like Senna can deal with all threats before the ball gets to the defense.

  2. Steve says:

    Senna would be a very good signing.
    Drogba… hmm, could we swap him for Anelka? There’s no doubt that Drogba would be a fantastic player in the CSL and work a damn sight harder than Anelka, but not sure we need both.

  3. Yiddo Huayi says:

    Drogba could teach the Chinese players a thing or two about diving as well.

  4. Arxtor says:

    Good news if its true. Both Drogba and Senna. A pity thou that they can only have 5 foreigners… Bozic is not at its best but he can be usefull. A wise choice I say might have been to let Griffiths go ; he is not as usefull as a mildfielder or Drogba and he doesn’t seem to be fit lately (repetitive injuries).
    With Drogba ; Anelka might start to play better. And at least ; he will be able to go down and get the ball to give to Drogba…. Because let’s be serious , Anelka’s poor performance is partly due to the fact that there are very few balls arriving to him (they try to give it but theu must no see very well) so he has to go back to get them himself but then he has no one to give them to…
    On the other hand ; Anelka could dribble more and take more direct shots instead of trying to play collectivly…its useless .

    • bcheng says:

      Griffiths’ importance is that he’s an Asian player and the league allows 3 foreigners + 1 Asian player on the pitch at the same time. If they dump the Griff, they’d still need to bring in a new player and still get rid of Bozic or Moises.

      • Arxtor says:

        True. But I thought it was 4 foreigners + 1 “Asian” (memeber of the AFC countries) (= 5 foreigners) ; or maybe its 5 foreigners in the club but 4 on the pitch….

        And what about that young Japanese/Malaysian guy ? Is he going to play for the 1st team or is he going to the reserve while finishing his pro training ?

        • WEF Editor says:

          3 foreigners + 1 asian player on the pitch at any one moment, plus one more foreigner in the squad. The Malaysian guy looks like he wont get a game in the 1st team squad for at least a couple of seasons.

  5. So someone had a Drogba shirt made up, and a “source” has told WEF that Drogba “will sign” for Shenhua new week. I’ve heard that he’ll be staying at Chelsea. Then again, the person who told me that was “a source” as well! I don’t know what to think!

    Wait – yes, I do. I’ll wait until a serious “source” speaks up.

    • bcheng says:

      Just wait and see who is right. I wasn’t a believer, but Drogba’s coming to China.

    • Nicholas says:

      To be honest i think WEF is quite a reliable website…
      They must be confident that Drogba is coming to China to write an article of it…
      Anyway , we’ll know by next week…:-)

      • Maybe so, but “a source” is rarely reliable. It’s dangerous to confirm something because of what “a source” said. Names help.

        • Yiddo Huayi says:

          Let’s wait and see!

          Three words: Feng Renliang. Spurs. WEF.

          (sorry that was three words and an acronym)

          • bcheng says:

            Haha, and yet you keep coming back and reading? Anyways, that was a different situation, with that article, we were just passing on what the Chinese media was reporting, on this one, we’re coming out and saying that this is from our own reporting.

          • Yiddo Huayi says:

            It was in reference to WEF being the first English source to say that Feng was linked with Spurs. It was days before it broke in the mainstream websites.

            (which is partly why I keep coming back here!)

    • Roy2004 says:

      Hi man, I think you still don’t know that Drogba has signed with Shenhua many weeks before. The differece is just the contract type.

      • It seems strange that another media outlet hasn’t picked up on it, then. You’re right. I don’t know that Drogba has signed with Shenhua. I don’t think anyone does, except him and Shenhua. I’d say nothing has happened yet.

        • Roon says:

          There you go, sub; better late than never, hey?

          EXCLUSIVE: Drog’s out! Didier China-bound after his Champions League win
          By Matt Lawton
          PUBLISHED: 22:00 GMT, 20 May 2012 | UPDATED: 22:00 GMT, 20 May 2012

          Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2147290/Didier-Drogba-leave-Chelsea-China.html#ixzz1vY0ms4tA

          An Exclusive, too! Back to the bench…

          • Well done, seemingly. I’ll wait until he’s holding up the shirt, but it does appear as though it’s going to happen. I’ll stand by what I said earlier though: this website was reporting it before any others – well before. It’s not a massive media outlet, so I’m sure you can understand my reservations in believing the “exclusive”.

          • Yiddo Huayi says:

            WEF have a good track record in getting the jump on other media outlets.

            They presaged Feng Renliang being scouted by Spurs and maybe a week later the mainstream were reporting that he was in the frame.

            Drogba’s agent backtracking but it seems that Drogba has come out and said he is leaving – so who knows what will actually happen.

            However you did hear it here first!

          • I heard it claimed elsewhere. I heard it “confirmed” on here. With conflicting words from all different people connected to Drogba, I’ll still wait until he’s holding a shirt.

          • Nicholas says:

            So every1 waiting to see if Drogba does come …. now that Chelsea won CL thanks to Drogba …

  6. Yiddo Huayi says:

    Please, please Drogba – hurry up and go to Shanghai.

    Thanks to you and a woeful Bayern I was a blubbing mess yesterday. Shenhua desperately need you more than Chelski and think how all that RMB can help you foundation work.

    (just. go. already. OK?)

  7. Rosskoooo says:

    Shenhua=……. uhhh seriously dude?

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