After flirting with Major League Soccer before, Didier Drogba might finally be ready to commit.
Drogba's close friend and Ivory Coast teammate Salomon Kalou believes that the former Chelsea superstar is ready to make the North American league the final stop in what's been an illustrious career.
"He loves America, he always goes there for holidays and it's a place he always enjoys. For him to work there would be an amazing experience. I think that's his goal and that's where he wants to finish [his career]," Kalou revealed to Goal. "He hasn't told me directly, but he has told me that finishing in New York or LA would be amazing experience. I know that's in his mind right now. He would love to finish there."
Drogba came close to joining MLS just two years ago. He was sought to replace David Beckham at the Los Angeles Galaxy when the English midfielder initially suggested that he wanted a move to Paris Saint-Germain at the end of 2011. Drogba ultimately rejected the league's offer to join his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka at CSL side Shanghai Shenhua for a deal worth 18 million euros.
Beckham ended up staying for another season before finally heading to Paris and it was revealed by MLS commissioner Don Garber that the league had offered Drobga $10 million annually to join the Galaxy.
"We offered Didier Drogba, great Chelsea player, over $10 million a year to play," Garber said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in 2012. "It would have been the largest salary we've ever had in Major League Soccer, and he signed (in China) for 18 million euros, net."
Drogba's move to the CSL didn't pan out as Shenhua wasn't able to afford to keep him or Anelka and both players moved on to other teams. Drogba is currently with Galatasaray and his pact with the Turkish side ends next season. Having accomplished everything on the European club level and his status on the Ivory Coast national team all but assured, Drogba could be open to an MLS move this summer, and Kalou believes his friend is very motivated to make that happen.
"Didier is the type of guy who never goes to a place without making an impact. For him, going to MLS is a great thing because MLS is developing as a football league," Kalou said. "I think having Didier in that league would give it an extra boost and continue to help the league develop."
MLS has had a hard time attracting stars to the league this season as it has seen Frank Lampard, Kaka and Giovanni Dos Santos turn the league down but may find some good fortune if it reels Drogba in. Two years older than when he was initially approached by the league, Drogba would likely join the league at a much cheaper rate than what was originally offered.
It doesn't hurt to save a few bucks, especially when it's in the millions.
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Kalou could also be on the move.
He is reportedly linked with a move back to England as West Ham has reportedly made an offer of 3 million pounds. While the striker seems content with Ligue 1 side Lille, he admits if the club wants to sell him, he'd be open to a move.
Kalou said: "Well right now, I haven't really talked about it, I'm working hard on my preseason. I'm trying to get myself ready for the season. I still have a contract with Lille. The most important thing is to stay focused and I think the club will decide in the right moment and I'll decide at the right moment.
"Right now, I'm not in a rush to make any decisions."
"I'm happy that teams are interested in me, I love the fact that even though we didn't qualify for Champions League, I scored a few good goals. It means that other teams can see that I can develop as a player. The fact that some are interested in me, I like to keep it open. See what the best move is to make."
Kalou and the Ivory Coast will face Mexico in a friendly on Aug. 14 at the MetLife Stadium in the New York City/New Jersey area.
- Sports & Recreation
- Didier Drogba
- Salomon Kalou
- Major League Soccer
- Ivory Coast