Didier Drogba looks to have found himself a new club at last. The Ivorian striker has been without a team since leaving Montreal Impact at the end of his contract in December but looks set to remain in North America with USL club Phoenix Rising.
The 39-year-old has signed a three-year contract with the Arizona-based side, according to France Football, and will have the option to become the club’s sporting director from the second season onwards.
Phoenix Rising FC – who were formerly known as Arizona United before this season and are owned by a group including American DJ Diplo – have been making headlines over the past few months as they look to prove they mean business as they grow on and off the field.
— wes (@diplo) March 26, 2017
Phoenix is one of 12 cities fighting for four MLS Expansion spots as the league looks to expand to 28 teams over the next few years. If Drogba has indeed signed – and more importantly signed with a clause allowing him to become a director – then the move makes a lot more sense than it does on the surface.
The former Chelsea star had long been linked with a return to the West London club in a coaching role but it would appear his future off the pitch could now be based in the USA.
Drogba reportedly turned down an offer from Brazilian side Corinthians, instead choosing to join former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips and former Mexico international Omar Bravo in Phoenix.
The USL club opened their 2017 season with a 1-0 home loss to a Toronto FC II side this weekend, playing in front of a sell-out crowd in their home opener at their brand new soccer specific stadium.
The club have permission to build a climate-controlled stadium on their current plot of land, that would seat between 20,000 and 30,000 fans if they are given an MLS team in the current round of bidding.