Shenhua still chasing Drogba

Batista says club's management are still in contact with striker

Didier Drogba: Could join Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua this summer

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Shanghai Shenhua are closing on the signing of former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, according to reports in the Chinese media.

Drogba, whose contract at Stamford Bridge expired this summer, has reportedly been in talks with the Chinese Super League club for months over a potential move.

The Shanghai Daily newspaper reported on Friday that the club have entered the "final round" of negotiations to bring the Ivory Coast international to China, where he would be reunited with former Blues team-mate Nicolas Anelka.

The newspaper said a Shenhua board member, Zhou Jun, would hold direct talks with the 34-year-old.

Speaking on Thursday, the club's new manager Sergio Batista boosted hopes Drogba might join the club.

Possible

"The possibility of Drogba coming is still relatively large," Batista told a news conference.

"I believe the club's management is still in contact with Drogba," he said, adding he did not expect news until after June 30th.

Shenhua declined to comment on Friday.

Drogba, who has also been linked with Real Madrid and Dubai-based club Al Wasl, left Chelsea after helping the Premier League club to their first ever UEFA Champions League triumph last month.

Former Argentina manager Batista joined Shenhua, sitting ninth in the 16-club Chinese league, late last month after the club sacked French coach Jean Tigana and temporarily made Anelka player-coach.