Didier Drogba has been flirting with a move to MLS since at least 2012. Mixed in to a flurry of rumors linking him to a move to North America over the past few years was a report in the 2014 off-season that the Ivoirian superstar was being wined and dined by Red Bull soccer's deal-maker-in-chief, Gerard Houllier.
But Papa's advances were not successful. Drogba did move clubs in 2014, but he went back to Chelsea on leaving Turkey's Galatasaray.
It should be noted that Drogba has moved clubs often in recent years, and the rumor mill likes to connect him to MLS whenever it appears he might be in the mood for a change. In 2012, he was on the way out of Chelsea and was offered "the largest salary we've ever had in MLS" according to Don Garber. But Didier turned down an alleged $10 million wage and went to China instead. In 2013, after a move to Turkey when things didn't go quite to plan in Shanghai, he was again linked to a MLS move (by old friend and former teammate Salomon Kalou). And, of course, he had that chat with Gerard Houllier in 2014 - before deciding to have another run with Chelsea.
The return to London worked out rather well: another Premier League title (his fourth) was secured.
But Drogba is 37 years old. He'll be 38 next March. The rumor mill has been wondering where he'll land next for some time.
The MLS connection resurfaced at the start of May, but it lacked specificity. Drogba "could" finally make the move he's been reportedly pondering for the last three years, if he didn't get a contract extension from Chelsea. And that move might be to New York City FC, since that's where Frank Lampard is going - and Lampard also turns 37 this year. May was well let 37-year-old former Chelsea stars hang out together.
Now that the EPL title has been wrapped up and Drogba's future has been confirmed - he will not be getting a contract extension in West London - the rumor mill can really get stuck in.
Today will be my last game for CFC. I have spoken at length with Jose and he understands I want to… https://t.co/iANxj6zdHz— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) May 24, 2015
He finished his career in Chelsea blue today - May 24 - in appropriate style:
And the rumors started up again:
I can confirm you that Didier Drogba have received an offer from New-York City FC in the MLS. More to come.— Philip Harmeling (@PhilipHarmeling) May 24, 2015
More to come indeed. A player of Drogba's reputation, even at 37, will surely have many options for his next move. And, as has tended to be the case in recent years, MLS is among them.
Mr. Harmeling, for what it is worth, tends to restrict his Twitter speculation to fairly mainstream rumors:
BREAKING: Looks like Di Matteo have been sacked by Schalke 04. More to come on @SPORTBILD!— Philip Harmeling (@PhilipHarmeling) May 24, 2015
For New York Red Bulls' fans, the Drogba-to-MLS rumor looks increasingly like one to enjoy from a distance. Drogba to NYC FC? We'll see. Count on the fact we'll be hearing more about his options and intentions as May ticks into June.