Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is set to join MLS side Montreal Impact, having secured the rights to the Ivorian’s signature, according to reports from ESPN.
The Blues legend, who left Stamford Bridge for a second time at the end of last season, had previously been linked with another MLS side, Chicago Fire, who had reportedly originally secured Drogba’s MLS rights, as well as being linked with Indian side Atletico Kolkata.
Impact president Joey Saputo said earlier this week the team had been in contact with the 37-year-old striker, with Drogba to sign an 18-month contract in excess of $3 million per year. But, the striker is yet put pen to paper.
Drogba became one of the world’s best in his first stint at Chelsea, his last goal securing the club’s Champions League success in 2012. He left for China’s Shenhua Shanghai the following season, where he made 11 appearances. He returned to Europe in 2012-13, joining Turkey’s Galatasaray. He also played for French sides Le Mans, Guingamp and Marseille before his move to the Premier League in 2004.
Chicago were thought to have won the battle for the striker, but Montreal soon entered the fray, with the prospect of playing in the French-speaking city proving more attractive to the former Ivory Coast captain.
When Drogba indicated his preference was to be in Montreal, the Fire traded his rights to the Impact in exchange for what one source with knowledge of the deal described as a “substantial amount of targeted and regular allocation money” well in excess of $100,000.