Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is poised to sign a new three-year deal according to the Blues manager Carlo Ancelotti. The hint was dropped early yesterday shortly after Drogba made his first appearance in pre-season. Following an injury hit season in 2008-09, Drogba helped his club open their World Football Challenge account as slick Chelsea dominated former manager Jose Mourinho's side Inter Milan in front of 81,224 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Drogba's future was in question while the offer of a new three-year contract remains unsigned, but Ancelotti revealed the striker indicated he would stay to form a key part of the Italian's new-look team. "Drogba is a very important player for us and we want him to play for Chelsea," Ancelotti said. "He's irreplaceable as no other striker in the world can do the same job. I've spoken with Drogba and know what he wants. He told me he's happy to stay."
The Ivory Coast player was naturally ecstatic about the result and glad to be able to contribute under the management of Ancelotti. "We have a new manager now and we're all happy for him because he won his second game out of two, so it's all good," he said. "We're working hard, this is only the start and we want to be ready for the start of the season." Of his side coming face to face with Mourinho, Drogba said: "It's always nice to see him, he was a big part of Chelsea's success and now we're moving on."
Goals from Drogba in the 11th minute and a Frank Lampard penalty just after half-time gave Chelsea victory over the Italian champions. The impressive nature of the Blues' performance more than the scoreline, however, will have delighted Ancelotti, especially coming so soon into the former AC Milan chief's first pre-season campaign and against his former cross-city rivals. Meanwhile, Ancelotti offered less encouragement to Andriy Shevchenko, who made his name playing for him at AC Milan.
"I speak to Shevchenko every day and the situation is this: he's with us until Aug 31 and then we take a decision together. I don't know what will happen as the club has not received any offers." Shevchenko cost Chelsea a club record £30.8m (Dh185.6m) when he was signed in 2006, where he returned last year for a loan deal. * With agencies