One of the more enchanting rumors in US soccer has been slapped down by a man who would seem likely to know: Thierno Seydi - agent and friend of Didier Drogba for more than 20 years - has stated his superstar client (one of many: Seydi represents a lot of famous names in global soccer) has not signed a deal to play for USL's Phoenix Rising FC.
In comments widely reported by media outlets in Africa, Seydi took the press to task:
I would like to say that this information, if it has been advanced, is not real. It's still rumors. I think people should stop circulating rumors.
A fair request, though Seydi went on to rather undermine his claim that the notion Drogba was on his way to Phoenix was "not real":
Drogba was actually contacted by this American club in relation to a project they are in the process of setting up. But I can tell you that nothing is final yet. There were discussions to see if it was possible or not. And at the moment, I can tell you that Drogba has not signed anything yet.
OK. So the part that is "not real" is the assertion the deal is done, but the idea there is a desire to see Drogba join the Phoenix "project" - which seems to be to become an American D2 superclub - is apparently not unfounded. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Seydi.
Of course, armed with what seems to be confirmation that there have been discussions between Drogba and Phoenix, the rumor mill probably isn't going to be inclined to drop this one - at least until it becomes clear that Drogba (currently a free agent, also 39 years old) has other plans for his career.