It can't get any bigger than this. Chelsea legend Didier Drogba playing in the Indian Super League can seem like a dream, but Atletico de Kolkata are not giving up on that dream.
In an exclusive report that emerged in the London Evening Standard, Spanish heavyweights Atletico Madrid have offered the Ivorian $1million (₹6.4 crore) to become the marquee player for their ISL franchise.
It has also been reported that Drogba has been offered a four-month deal by the Spanish club to play with the defending ISL champions -- Atletico de Kolkata -- in this season of the lucrative football league.
The report also goes on to say that the La Liga side also proposed to pay the four-time Premier League champion with Chelsea a fee of $1million plus other incentives – which include a bonus and additional payments to take care of all his cost of living in India. He is also proposed to undertake the preseason with Antonio Habas' side from next month.
A UK-based (FA licensed) football agent, Baljit Rihal, also confirmed the same: "This is a real statement of intent from clubs in the Indian Super League, who are passionately trying to put India on the global football map," he told the Evening Standard.
"ATK asked me to enquire about Drogba as an intermediary, but it seems that the offer won't get accepted. His representatives have seen the offer but have not responded at all. Looks like the MLS is a likely destination," Baljit added to Firstpost.
Baljit however also clarified soon that he wasn't the player's agent, and Atletico Madrid have also allegedly remained unavailable for a comment on the same.
After drawing curtains on his second stint at Stamford Bridge at the end of last season, the 37-year-old attracted heavy interest from Major League Soccer (MLS) side Chicago Fire, and the side's head coach Frank Yallop stated on Wednesday that he was expecting an answer from the Ivory Coast all-time goalscorer soon.
"We're waiting on an answer, probably in the next 48 hours," Yallop had said in a press conference.
"We're just waiting for a decision from their [Drogba's agents] side on what way he wants to go. He has choices. We feel that we've put a pretty good pitch in. He's very happy with what we've done, but, again, it's up the person himself to choose, and we'll see.
"To bring a player of his stature here would be fantastic for not only the fans, [but for] the club and everyone involved in that for what he's done in the game, and what he's going to do," the Chicago Fire manager added.
Names like Raul and Thierry Henry, along with Milan Baros and Andrey Arshavin, surfaced last month as probable marquee players for Atletico de Kolkata in ISL 2015. Luis Garcia, who was the marquee player of the side last year, has also not been released by the club so far.
"We will sit with Antonio Lopez Habas and other members of the coaching staff to select someone who could be an ideal, or even better, replacement for Luis Garcia," a source close to ATK told Indian daily The Telegraph earlier this month.