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Drogba-Shanghai Talks Confirmed Amid Anelka Controversy

Didier Drogba begins talks with Shanghai Shenhua as Nicolas Anelka threatens to leave

International Business Times UK

Didier Drogba has begun talks over a move to Chinese big-spenders Shanghai Shenhua, according to the club's owner Zhu Jun.

The Ivory Coast international confirmed his departure from Chelsea on Tuesday, bringing an end to an eight-year career at Stamford Bridge.

Drogba is free to leave the club at the end of next month, but has already started discussions with Shenhua, who are currently led by former Blue Nicolas Anelka.

"As of now, Shenhua's negotiations with Drogba are continuing just as planned," Zhu told the Oriental Sports Daily.

Anelka joined the Chinese outfit during the January transfer window, and was quickly installed as coach alongside Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge after the sacking of manager Jean Tigana.

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However, the former French international is on the verge of quitting the club in response to talk of former Argentina manager Sergio Daniel Batista taking over on a full-time basis.

"The club has actively sought a head coach candidate, and is looking for him to take up the post and assume command soon," a Shenhua statement read.

"[The club] hopes he (Anelka) will help the new coaching group to quickly become acquainted with the state of the team without delay".

The former Real Madrid striker looks likely to lose this current power struggle at Shenhua, which could compromise Drogba's move to China, given the pair's previous releationship.

"If there is still no one to support me and (they) continue to play little tricks behind my back ... then I will quickly decide whether or not to retire," Anelka said, in comments published by the newspaper in Chinese.

Drogba confirmed his Chelsea exit after taking the club to Champions League glory on Saturday, equalising with three minutes remaining against Bayern Munich, before netting the winning penalty to deliver the club's first ever European Cup.

The ex-Marseille forward scored 157 goals in eight years at Chelsea, and with an unenviable record in finals, is regarded as one of the club's greatest ever players of the modern era.

After declaring his intention not to play for another side in the Premier League, Drogba has expressed interest in seeking a 'new challenge', while he has been heavily linked with a move to Shenhua in the past.

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