• Premier League

Drogba requests Shanghai exit on loan

ESPN staff
November 21, 2012
Didier Drogba is looking to secure a move from Shanghai Shenhua outside of the transfer window © PA Photos

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has asked for special permission to move on loan from his Chinese club despite the official transfer window being closed.

FIFA says it is considering the request for an exemption from international rules which currently prevent Drogba from representing another club until January 1.

Drogba's season with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua finished this month and a move would allow the Ivory Coast captain, 34, to play for a new team and prepare for the African Cup of Nations, which begins on January 19. Drogba is contracted with Shanghai until 2014.

Since Drogba's departure from Chelsea last summer the club's attacking options have been limited, leading to speculation that a short-term return to Stamford Bridge could be considered, as well as Roman Abramovich's longer-term desire to sign Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool are keen to buy Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea, having failed to land him on loan in the summer transfer window, and with the England striker anxious for regular football there could be a flurry of transfer activity following the departure of manager Roberto Di Matteo on Wednesday morning.

Manchester City and Real Madrid are also interested in Falcao, 26, but the Colombian striker's €48 million buy-out clause has not been met, and Atletico Madrid have shown no intent to dropping their asking price.

With Fernando Torres' days at Chelsea looking increasingly numbered, Abramovich could concede defeat in his £50 million gamble and offer the Spanish striker as a makeweight in the deal.

Falcao, who scored a hat-trick against Chelsea in the European Super Cup, recently talked up a move to the Premier League, and claimed to have been a big fan of Chelsea great Gianfranco Zola.

"Chelsea are champions of Europe and there is not much more to say than that," he said. "Even after winning the Champions League they still go and sign players of the highest quality. Their ambition is clear.

"I would not be worried about the physical aspect of the Premier League. I have scored goals in Argentina, Portugal and now Spain. I am confident I can adapt my game to any league. I would welcome the challenge of the Premier League.

"I was also a big fan of Gianfranco Zola when I was growing up. I have watched the Premier League for a long time. There is so much quality and it is such an exciting league. Of course it is nice to think I might play in it.'

Drogba's departure from Chelsea in the summer, has limited the team's options in attack, and the priority is to find a new goalscorer now that Torres continues to misfire in front of goal.

Abramovich promised Torres, 28, his big chance this season by declining to buy a replacement for Drogba but he has failed to make the expected impact, scoring only four Premier League goals so far.

After facing Falcao in the 1-1 draw between Brazil and Colombia in New Jersey, David Luiz welcomed any potential move for the Atletico man.

"I'm happy when there are great names attached to Chelsea," he said. "He's a great player. It would be a good choice for Falcao to come to Chelsea. All of the players would be happy."

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