Drogba tops China wage bill
Beijing - Shanghai Shenhua have offered Didier Drogba £200 000 pounds (R2.6m) a week to play for the club, a salary that would make him the best paid player in China, state media said on Monday.
Reports say Drogba, who left Chelsea after helping them win the Champions League final against Bayern Munich last month, will join the Chinese Super League club and may announce the move later on Monday.
According to the official Oriental Morning Post, the two sides have already reached agreement "in principle" for a two-and-a-half-year contract.
The proposed salary would exceed the pay of Drogba's former Chelsea team-mate and Shenhua's current top player Nicolas Anelka, who is reported to be receiving €200 000 (R2.1m) a week, it said.
Shenhua declined to comment on Monday, and an official said Drogba would make the announcement himself if he decided to sign.
The Ivory Coast star said on Sunday that information about his future was due shortly but he side-stepped questions as to whether he would link up with Shenhua.
"The next step is interesting," the 34-year-old said during a visit to New Delhi.
The earliest Drogba could arrive in Shanghai to begin playing for the club is early July, the report said.
It added that the proposed deal includes Drogba becoming a spokesperson for a Chinese online gaming company, in a similar arrangement to French striker Anelka, who joined Shenhua in January.
Anelka was paid $3.4 million to endorse an online game developed by Internet company The9, whose chairperson Zhu Jun is also the chief investor in Shenhua.
Under the terms of the possible deal with Drogba, Shenhua would also participate in charitable projects, possibly involving a hospital that he is having built in his native Ivory Coast, the newspaper said.
Drogba is active in charitable causes through his foundation, which seeks to provide support in health and education to African people.
Shenhua, now 12th in the 16-club league, have struggled despite hiring Anelka and head coach Jean Tigana, who was later sacked and replaced with former Argentina manager Sergio Batista.