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Garber: MLS offered Drogba more than $10 million per year

Drogba (Getty Images)

If you did not think MLS had a serious interest in luring Didier Drogba to North America this summer, think again. 

Speaking at a panel at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York on Thursday, MLS comissioner Don Garber said that the league offered Drogba a salary of more than $10 million per year, which would have been an MLS record. Drogba ended up joining former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua for an even higher payday.

"We offered Didier Drogba, great Chelsea player, over $10 million a year to play," Garber said, when talking about the financial state of the game around the world along with AS Roma CEO Mark Pannes. "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."

A $10 million salary would be double what the current highest salary in the league is, with Theirry Henry's $5 million base salary leading the way. 

What do you think of this development? Do you think Drogba would have been worth that salary for MLS? Surprised to hear that MLS would offer that high of a salary?

Share your thoughts below.

81 comments
  • slyboy

    James i am getting the sense you are a bit naive. It is the f&$#ing NBA!!!!!!!!!!! You can’t compare the two!

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  • slyboy

    I am sorry, but we aren’t producing “rookies” that deserve that kind of cash. and if you give the 3rd round rookie 100k to warm the bench you have to give the Tim Wards, James Rileys of the league at least an equal raise, and you suddenly increased the payroll of the league by 50 million a year, if not more. Makes perfect sense to me right?? people need to take an economics class

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  • The Imperative Voice

    Aww cmon let’s be real, who do you think the moneybags will be among AEG, Red Bull, and the random bunch associated with the new minor league Cosmos? People forget the old Cosmos team was backed by Warner Communications.

    Their “stadium” is imaginary and at $300 million may very well remain so. I think any concept for a team with a $100 million MLS buy-in and a $300 million park is crazed. There is a reason teams usually play across the river in NJ.

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  • Old School

    Much like our parents, we hated the limitations and structure they implemented.

    However, it was for a good reason. We just didn’t realize it until later.

    That’s the best way I can some up Garber’s leadership. I’ve never been his biggest fan but you can’t argue with the success & growth under his reign.

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  • The Imperative Voice

    It’s complicated, I’d say buy the minors and use them as the MLB minor equivalent, in lieu of the half-cooked reserve system of present. But then you get into the affordability question, who pays, how much.

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  • Kung Fu Kangaroos

    Not sure when the next labor negotiations will begin again … but you can bet that the player’s union will push for a higher minimum and higher salary cap. $75,000 to $90,000 is a good start for a player minimum to live off of and maybe not have to take a 2nd job.

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  • CplDaniel

    Good Job, Chris! Especially with all you typed in that post. It’s amazing that somebody didn’t swoop in and beat you to the punch while you were writing all that.
    You should wrote “First!!” then wrote the rest in a 2nd post.

    Like

  • Creige

    These salaries made sense years ago when the league was in its infancy and American, Canadian, Carribean and Central American soccer players had few options. If the point of the MLS is to build North American soccer, particulary the USA and Canada, then you need to attract the best of those players. It’s frustrating to watch good players leave for 3rd tier leagues where because of their status as internationals they are often not given time to develop. It’s also frustrating to watch good young players take a backseat (benched or playing in the reserves) to overage slow and subpar European players because they supposedly add legitimacy to this league.

    Like

  • DirtyLeeds

    Please, the Aussies know would be the first to tell you that A-League is a joke. It hardly compares to MLS.

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  • Brad

    How does a team fund salties for dp’s? And how does MLS say that THEY offered $10 mil? Is it not the team offering that player the cash?

    Does MLS offer a stipend? What’s the deal…

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  • soccerhorn

    Probably they wanted to give Drogba $10mil… to play in Columbus. And Drogba said “if Beckham won’t play there, why should I?” (For those who don’t know, Beckham has conveniently missed the Columbus road game every year but one).

    Seriously though, the league may improve its visibility with the occasional signing of an overpriced vet, but if it wants to improve it’s quality of play – the main point of all this – they have to improve the depth of talent, at every position on every team. That means recruiting more 22-year-old rising international stars, not fading veterans. And that in turn means boosting the rookie minimums and foreign exceptions. How about an International Generation Adidas?

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  • Brad

    That makes no sense. If that were the thinking of MLS 5years ago we would be nowhere close to what it is now. Imagine not getting david beckham to the league. Honestly, just give that a thought.

    There’s no way you can justify spending 10 mil a year in a better way. Like splitting $1 into 100 pennies–worthless.

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  • YO-Joe

    Alessandro Del Piero just signed with Sydney. He could have been one of those aging player MLS experiments. It’s an international market. I trust The Don is great at building the league with a solid financial foundation.

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  • Darwin

    Eh, don’t see that many hipsters in FC Dallas shirts. I think you have a geographic bias😉 Mostly, FCD fans fill seats because there’s a bouncy gym on one end of the field.

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  • kyle

    The MLS needs bigger TV deals. So I could see why they tried to sign Drogba to generate more interest. Alot of posters on this site talk about how many fans show up to the games but thats not nearly as important as how many fans watch games on tv.
    Thats why you only see a certain group of teams on tv over and over again. And thats why they tried for Drogba and thats why NY will get another team soon.

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  • slyboy

    Honestly which good young players are being sat for “aging” Europeans?, I want an example, not just some scrub who shouldn’t be playing anyway, this is one of the stupidest arguments heard around the board, if the player is good, he will play, talent languishing on the bench is often more a sign of a bad team, not really because his spot was taken by some foreign talent. The “good” american players will always leave for Europe…even if the money was the same…why, well because it is Europe! BTW, the last time I checked the league wasn’t exactly making big time money.

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  • FRT

    I quit watching MLS about 6 months ago (the team I followed was completely ruined by awful coaching – Nowak/Philly) but would start watching again in a heartbeat if Drogba was here.

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  • FRT

    Del Piero went from Juventus to A-league this week, and pretty sure he didn’t consider any MLS teams.

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  • dgoshilla

    Well, for starters you could get 20 players for $500,000 each that would upgrade any MLS team and the league as a whole. Or, 10 players for 1 million. I don’t see the math with Drogba. Not worth it.

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  • David

    Is money really that important to Drogba? It really seems like the only reason he went to China. USA has so much going for it over China just in terms of a country. And it must suck to not speak the language.

    I’m glad that the MLS realized what he would have meant and was willing to be so competitive to get him. I think it speaks volumes about the MLS as an organization and gives me great hope for the future.

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  • Sport

    He is already looking to get out of his Chinese contract…MLS has until 9/15.

    I could see him in Houston.

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  • Ed

    Ownership structure of the mls. Player contracts are with the league not individual teams. Thats why the mls negotiated the transfers of Cameron etc.

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  • Kojo

    If MLS offered Drogba $10M+ per year why not have offered $10M+ per year to Oscar? Or Neymar? Most likely would never get them but it is free publicity for the league. Right now the most intriquing player I want to watch is Fabian Castillo from FC Dallas. The young DP who can get paid $10M+ per year by MLS is the player to sign. And tell NBC and ESPN to get more cameras so to better capture the abilities of these young players.

    Like

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