Wednesday Kickoff: Drogba has Shenhua talks, Solksjaer passes on Villa & more

Drogba (Reuters Pictures)

Didier Drogba is reportedly moving closer toward making China the next stop on his career path.

The former Chelsea striker, who confirmed Tuesday that he was leaving the Blues after eight years and just delivering a UEFA Champions League title, has entered into negotiations with Shanghai Shenhua, according to the Chinese club that also employs his former Chelsea teammate, Nicolas Anelka, as a player/coach. 

Drogba, who said, "I would have stayed (at Chelsea) if we hadn't won the Champions League," is able to move on a free transfer with his current contract expiring next month.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

SOLKSJAER PASSES ON ASTON VILLA

Aston Villa will have to turn their coaching search to a new direction, because Ole Gunnar Solksjaer won't be leaving Norway to come to Villa Park.

The former Manchester United standout and current Molde FK coach passed on the chance to become Alex McLeish's successor. Solksjaer, who currently coaches American winger Josh Gatt, interviewed with Villa owner Randy Lerner over the weekend but ultimately decided to stay put for personal reasons, according to reports. It is uncertain whether Lerner officially offered the job to Solksjaer, as conflicting reports state both that it was and was not offered to the 39-year-old Norwegian.  

EGYPT SHUTS OUT TOGO

Bob Bradley continued his winning ways as Egypt national team coach, guiding the Pharaohs to a 3-0 victory over Togo in Sudan to improve to 10-1-2 since taking over.

Mohamed Salah scored twice after Gedo opened the scoring to extend Egypt's unbeaten streak to 12 matches, all of which have been friendlies. Egypt is slated to play one more match before a string of African Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers begin next month. The team Egypt is playing in the ACN qualifiers, Central African Republic, just had its coach quit after eight months of unpaid wages.

ROBBEN BOOED BY MUNICH FANS IN FRIENDLY

When the Netherlands and Bayern Munich agreed to a friendly as part of a settlement for Arjen Robben getting hurt on international duty, it seemed as if the stage would be set for a light, celebratory day for the Dutch winger. Instead, his performance in last weekend's UEFA Champions League final lingered over the whole event, and, as it turns out, Munich fans are not quick to forget.

Playing for the Netherlands in the match, Robben was booed and jeered by his own fans after he came on as a halftime substitute of Bayern's 3-2 victory at Allianz Arena. Robben missed a penalty in extra time that would have put Bayern ahead of Chelsea and in position to capture the Champions League trophy. He had his spot kick saved, though, and Chelsea took the title in penalties.

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Do you hope to see Drogba move elsewhere than Shanghai Shenhua? Think Solksjaer made the right move by passing on Aston Villa? Happy to see Egypt get another victory? Think Robben deserved the harsh treatment from Bayern Munich fans?

Share your thoughts below.

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33 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Drogba has Shenhua talks, Solksjaer passes on Villa & more

  1. Madaoua05 says:

    Ouch. That’s brutal for Robben.

  2. Mike says:

    Drogba, another mercenary for hire. Take the money and run away to a smog-filled oblivion.

  3. GSScasual says:

    hey drogba, enjoy the smog, sandstorms, intense cold/heat, overcrowding, etc… but i digress, i do enjoy china.. been there a bunch for work

  4. Dank says:

    Munich fans are ingrates. Did they think that they would have even been in the final without Robben?

  5. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Maybe. But that was an all time choke job. He was horrible all game long. Poor free kicks, poor corners, poor shots and of course the PK.

  6. Kevin_Amold says:

    Hmm, I didn’t think he played that badly. Maybe I’m in the minority.

    The missed penalty is a backbreaker, but I would almost certainly never boo a player that missed a penalty for my team. Seems a bridge too far.

  7. BamaMan says:

    I hope that none of those criticizing Drogba are also MLS fans because what he’s doing is no different than what Beckham did here.

    It will be interesting to see if this is a one off event or if the Chinese league is going to be bringing in more foreign stars in the coming years.

    Soccer is an enormously popular global sport, but it’s mind-boggling to think of how much potential it has to grow between the US, China, and India.

  8. Mike says:

    I think it’s completely different from what Beckham and MLS are doing.

    Shenhua is in an extremely polluted area in a 5th tier league. They just happen to have financial backing given their location. He doesn’t speak the language and Anelka is already refusing to return given the environmental danger.

    MLS is a 2nd tier, respectable league in a country that speaks English and presented him with an opportunity to raise his kids.

  9. I don’t think you’re in the minority at all.

    Robben may have missed that PK but he was easily the most dangerous player on the pitch that night (14 SOG). A look back at any website that compiled player ratings for the match will prove this was the case.

    Booing him is asinine.

  10. golfstrom says:

    Even heat fans don’t boo LeBron

  11. matt says:

    Wait, he joined the LA Galaxy?

    Seriously though, he’s accomplished pretty much everything possible at the club level, what’s wrong with taking a pay day in a lower league at his age? His contract is up and he just won his team the Champions League, it’s not like he’s bailing: how does that make him a mercenary?

  12. Old School says:

    You’re calling Drogba a mercenary? What’s wrong with going out on top?

  13. eman says:

    business is business.

    let him go wherever the hell he wants.

    drogba wants to retire well and china wants to raise its league profile. easy peas.

  14. Mike says:

    Nothing wrong with going out on top.

    But he’s taking the biggest payday he can find to go to a smog infested city outside the footballing world with a near-amateur level league. He’s entitled to do that.

  15. Old School says:

    As often as he’s been injured and collected paychecks, I’d permanently boo him on that basis alone.

  16. ben in el cajon says:

    This coming from a leftist: go read Milton Friedman’s defense of a professional military in a congressional hearing. He said something to the effect that everyone who works for pay is a mercenary, except for conscripts and slaves. He’s right, with the exception of charity workers. Do you want Drogba to donate his talent to your pleasure? We’re all mercenaries; get over it.

  17. Old School says:

    I hear what you’re saying but I still fail to see the problem. This isn’t a player in his mid 20′s taking a higher pay day in the middle east.

    This is someone who just reached the pinnacle of ones profession (outside of the World Cup) and now is securing further financial security.

  18. Old School says:

    That’s because they have arrived to the game yet….fast forward to 3 quarters in when they finally arrive, they might.

  19. fischy says:

    Yeah. What’s Drogba trying to do, becoming a star in a league that represents over a billion people? That’s just stoopid. So would taking that enormous payday, which would allow him to travel wherever he wants and own homes, yadda yadda in his retirement, if he really wants to see the USA.

    On the other hand, it’s negotiations. He might just be testing the waters to see how much they’ll pay him.

  20. Bumby Hemmingway says:

    …. or Beckham took a job in a new market that his wife could open up for him.

  21. Bumby Hemmingway says:

    With all that Drogba was accomplished in his career …. I fail to see why one should be critical of him for taking a large payday at the end of a career where he has nothing left to prove.

  22. DCUPedro says:

    If Drogba was seeking his lower league “payday” in the USA, would anyone be calling him a mercenary?

    These guys all want new challenges after they’ve reached the top of the game in Europe. They want to be part of something new and different, and MLS/China offer them those opportunities to be part of the game’s new frontier. More power to him.

  23. MC Pharaoh says:

    Drogba must be an idiot. Anelka has been extremely negative in his time with that club. He’s publicly criticized the football several times. Both should have came to MLS or Russia if they wanted money. Its unrealistic in China because even though they have the money, the football is dreadful.

  24. bryan says:

    there is no way he goes to China after what Anelka said this week. the Chinese guy has to give some sort of positive press after all the negative press. i truly hope he does not go to China. what a waste. go to a league that will actually grow into something. J League, A League, MLS. or if he wants to play European soccer, go to Russia, Netherlands or France. just don’t go to China. please.

  25. bryan says:

    Not to mention it was HIS penalty against Madrid that sent the game to overtime and eventually to a shootout in which they won.

  26. bryan says:

    I disagree completely. China’s league is not ever going to be anything. It’s NASL 2.0 but with Anelka and Drogba instead of Cruyoff, Pele, Beckebauer, etc. The MLS was, and still is, working on improving the league so it can become a solid league in the eyes of everyone. China just throws INSANE amounts of money at two players and two coaches while the rest of the league is god awful. MLS at least already had a solid foundation before Becks got here. Anelka is already sick of it and it hasn’t even been six months.

  27. Jamie Z. says:

    How ’bout some Bradley love here? The man is 10-1-2 since taking over at Egypt. Even against CONCACAF opposition, that record would be nothing to scoff at.

    It’s interesting to see Villa supporters mention both Bradley and Klinsmann in connection with the vacant managerial position at Aston Villa. I don’t expect that either of them would be realistic candidates, nor would I be happy to see them leave their current projects to take over at a club in the midst of a serious and pervasive crisis (even a club I support), but it’s nice to see them both getting positive name recognition across the pond.

    As for the vacancy at Villa, I don’t even know anymore. After the buzz and excitement around Solskjær and the subsequent falling through, I fear a repeat of last summer’s drama and dysfunction. I feel like being a Villa fan anymore is a lesson in dealing with dashed hopes and expectations, adjusting those hopes and expectations to a much lower standard, and still somehow being remarkably disappointed with the results. I would have been thrilled with Solskjær, I’d still take Lambert or Martinez or a pipe dream appointment like Villas-Boas…but I fear Bruce, McCarthy, or worse.

  28. Tom says:

    He should go to Anzhi with Eto’o and Robert Carlos and only fly in for home games.

  29. JCC says:

    Awww, that’s adorable. Bitter Americans are just the cutest.

  30. JCC says:

    Dude what the does the pollution have to do with soccer? Mexico City is also polluted as is LA and a tons of other cities around the world.

  31. JCC says:

    How do you know what China’s league is trying to be. You honestly think Americans are the only ones trying to improve their league? For all the talk of free market support, Americans sure hate competition, especially when it’s coming from China.

  32. JCC says:

    Anelka has bitched at just about every club he’s been to. This isn’t anything new. Also, there are people out there that think the football in MLS is “dreadful”, even people within American borders, so please tell me what would be the difference.

  33. Euro 2012 says:

    Goodbye Didier – thanks for all