Didier Drogba chase stepped up by Shanghai Shenhua

Didier Drogba
Drogba signed for Chelsea in the summer of 2004

Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua have claimed they are in talks to sign Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

The 33-year-old rejected a one-year contract extension at Chelsea and has been linked with a move to China.

"Everything is going well so far, though there have been a few obstacles," said Shenhua board member Zhou Jun.

Last month, striker Nicolas Anelka quit Stamford Bridge for Shenhua when he signed for a two-year deal.

Rival Chinese club Dalian Aerbin were reported to have offered the Ivory Coast international wages of £200,000 a week but Shenhua have now joined the chase.

"It's like flirting with a girl," said Shenhua spokesman Zhu Jun about the pursuit of Drogba on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. "Perhaps she will resist you at first, but if you continue to ask her out, it always ends well. Never give up."

Zhu also told the Shanghai Daily: "It's like making a blockbuster film.

"When superstars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Zhou Xun have confirmed their participation, other actors and actress will be confident of the movie."

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas had been hopeful that Drogba, who is with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations and is free to open negotiations with rival clubs about a move at the end of the season, would see out his contract.

Drogba has been at Chelsea since the summer of 2004 after being signed by former manager Jose Mourinho in a £24m deal from Marseille.

However, following the signing of Spaniard Fernando Torres in January, he has found it difficult to secure a regular spot as Villas-Boas has rotated his four strikers.

Shanghai Shenhua finished 11thexternal-link out of 16 teams in the Chinese league last season.

They are determined to win the league and have already signed Brazilian forwards Cleo and Muriqui as well as former Fulham and Monaco boss Jean Tigana as their head coach.

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