By RYAN TOLMICH
The Montreal Impact have identified Didier Drogba as a prime target, but the Canadian club will have to do some finagling to acquire his services.
Impact president Joey Saputo confirmed on Monday that the club has been in contact with the Ivorian forward, who has identified Montreal as a city he would like to play in. However, for the Impact to acquire the Chelsea star, the team would have to come to terms with the Chicago Fire, who have been actively pursuing the Chelsea legend and have now increased their previous offer of $2.5 million per year, per ESPN FC.
Fire COO Atul Khosla revealed Tuesday via Twitter that the club remained in pursuit of Drogba following three weeks of ongoing discussions.
Saputo says that he knows the Fire currently have first dibs on Drogba’s rights should he come to MLS, but the Impact president also hopes that his team can find a way to acquire the star forward.
“Honestly, there hasn’t been any other discussion with the league concerning Didier or even the aspect of Chicago, making a trade with them, looking to get their spot and whatnot,” Saputo told TSN. We’re not at that point yet.
“I know that Chicago is working tremendously hard to try to bring Didier to [the Fire] and, as you know, Didier is a player that would do well in any market.”
The Impact and Fire are far from the only teams in pursuit of the Chelsea legend, as teams from Europe and Asia, including Inter Milan, have reportedly shown interest in acquiring the striker.
However, Saputo remains hopeful that the allure of Montreal and MLS will be enough to lure Drogba to joining the team.
In particular, Saputo believes that Drogba would be an instant success in Montreal due to the city’s French culture. In addition, Saputo says that Drogba is a player that “checks a lot of the boxes”, inspiring the club to spend the money required to bring in a player that would instantly become one of the league’s star attractions.
“He didn’t hide the fact that Montreal would be a perfect fit for him. The conversation with Didier was then completely in French, which was comforting for him,” Saputo said. “He asked about the city. He asked about the schooling and the kids and whatnot, which is something that was very important to him.
“He feels that we’re not far away from being a competitive team on a day-to-day basis in this particular league. He likes what he’s seen and he likes what he’s heard, so the ball’s in his court now. I know that Chicago is still pursuing him, and rightly so. We just hope that we come out on top.”
Where do you expect Drogba to end up? Which team would be a better fit? How would the forward help each club?
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