Will Didier Drogba leave Shanghai over boardroom bust-up?
Shanghai Shenhua chairman Zhu Jun is allegedly upset his financial contributions are not being recognised
DIDIER DROGBA returned to his old stomping ground on Tuesday amid claims that the former Chelsea striker’s future in China is in doubt. The Ivory Coast star left the Blues in the summer to join Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League but yesterday he popped into Chelsea's Cobham training ground to catch up with some old faces.
Drogba would certainly have had some tales to tell his former teammates, not the least of which is whether he’ll have a club to return to next month. According to reports from China, both Drogba and teammate Nicolas Anelka could be sold by China's Shanghai Shenhua because of a bitter dispute among shareholders.
Club Chairman Zhu Jun, who has a 28.5 per cent stake in Shanghai, is demanding greater control of the club and has allegedly threatened to withhold further financial assistance if his wish is not granted.
According to the Oriental Sports Daily, Zhu became a shareholder in 2007 on the understanding that if he invested £15m over two years his stake would increase to 70 per cent. In fact he’s pumped in excess of £60m into the club but has yet to see his stake rise to the agreed percentage.
The newspaper claims that a source has told them the row “will directly influence the quality of foreign players Shenhua have at the club next season... [because] if the other shareholders aren’t able to come to an understanding and offer their support, Zhu Jun will leave the club at the end of the season and no longer support it”.
It’s believed Drogba and Anelka, who joined the club in January, earn around £200,000-a-week, and the China Daily reports that the pair “could refuse to play if Shenhua fell short with their salary payments”.
Shenhua are currently 10th in the 16-team Chinese Super League - some 20 points behind leaders Guangzhou Evergrande.
The League is now on a three-week break so Drogba has come to London to spend time with friends and family. Surely the sight of John Terry will make Drogba realise life in China does have its plus points?