Chelsea F.C. legend Didier Drogba has agreed a deal to join Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact, subject to receipt of his Canadian work permit and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Drogba, who joined Chelsea from French Ligue 1 giants Olympique de Marseille for £24 million in the summer of 2004, won 14 trophies–English Premier League (2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2014–15), the FA Cup (2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12), the League Cup (2004–05, 2006–07, 2014–15), the Community Shield (2005, 2009) and the UEFA Champions League (2011–12)–during his two stints at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s an honour to welcome Didier Drogba to the Impact,” Montreal president Joey Saputo told the club’s official website.
“From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal. This is one of the biggest days in club history and his arrival to the club will be beneficial in every aspect.”
Montreal vice-president Nick De Santis added: “He’s had an impact on millions of people since the start of his career and he will continue to do so wearing the Impact colours.
“A player of his magnitude can only help grow our club. He’s been a leader, a winner and a champion throughout his career.”
The former Côte d’Ivoire international tallied seven goals and two assists in 40 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea last season, and has since been replaced by Radamel Falcao (on loan from AS Monaco).
Collins hoping for Van Dijk stay
Celtic F.C. assistant manager John Collins has revealed highly-rated defender Virgil van Dijk is unlikely to leave if the Scottish Premier League champions qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Van Dijk, who joined Celtic from Dutch Eredivisie side FC Groningen for £2.5 million in the summer of 2013, has been linked with several European clubs, including Everton, in recent weeks.
However, Collins is hoping the club can reach the group stages of Europe’s premier club football competition in order to keep the Dutch stopper.
“I am not surprised there is talk about Virgil. When you are a good player there is going to be speculation,” said Collins ahead of Celtic’s third-round UCL qualifier against Qarabag at Celtic Park on Wednesday.
“It’s another club mentioned today, I am sure there will be another next week, but he is a Celtic player.
“Would it be difficult to keep him if we don’t make the Champions League? Probably, but hopefully we won’t have to deal with that.
“Virgil trains very well and is fully focused. He’s 24 now and has matured. He understands. There’s been plenty of talks with Virgil.
“That’s where every player wants to play, every coach wants to coach, every supporter wants to be. If you are a centre-half playing in the Champions League you are up against the best forwards in the world. It’s a great challenge and if you do well it puts you on a different level.
“People look at you in a different light if you’re taking care of top-class strikers. There is also the financial part of the story.”
Celtic are priced at 1/20 to win the Scottish Premier League in 2015/16.