Shanghai Shenhua said yesterday that the club will wait and watch how things develop after Didier Drogba signed up for Turkish club Galatasaray.
The Ivory Coast striker's 18-month deal implies that he has effectively cut ties with Shanghai though Zhu Jun, Shenhua's chief investor, claimed the club's contract with Drogba was still valid and emphasized that Shenhua did not owe him any salary as rumored.
"Everything about Shenhua will be handled according to the rules of FIFA and Drogba's case will be the same," Zhu told Sina.com.
The club did not make any official statement on Drogba yesterday.
Despite emphasizing that Shenhua had fulfilled its money commitments to Drogba, Zhu admitted that the club had not paid the former Chelsea striker on time, which, however, was allowed according to the contract.
Zhu revealed that Drogba's contract with Shenhua included a clause about a 28-day correction period for payment of salary, meaning for example, if the salary is set to be paid on the first day of the month it could be paid no later than the 28th. In the past six months, Shenhua had used the term several times, according to Xinmin Evening News.
"The payment delay was due to many reasons, but we have never violated the contract," Zhu insisted.
Payment problem was cited as one of the reasons why Drogba and his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka, who signed for Italian giant Juventus, left Shanghai after just one season but insiders insisted that money was not the issue.
"Rumors of Drogba's transfer have been around for a while and Shenhua did not start them nor did it try to dispel them, which shows the club's attitude to some extent," an insider told the newspaper.
Drogba, 34, announced he was joining Galatasaray on his website on Monday night right after the Turkish club updated its website.
Cup of Nations
"A very exciting challenge," said the striker, who is currently in South Africa for the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast team.
Galatasaray, an 18-time Turkish league champion and 2000 UEFA Cup winner, has also qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, which attracted the Ivorian striker. "A special competition for me, where we face Schalke 04 in the last 16," he added. "This is a very exciting challenge that awaits me in Istanbul."
Drogba, who helped Chelsea win the Champions League last season before moving to Shanghai, did not mention Shenhua in the statement.
Meanwhile, Shenhua has signed Rolando Schiavi, former captain of Boca Juniors, to replace Brazilian defender Moises. The 40-year-old back has arrived in town with the team after training in Argentina.
Ivorian striker's tenure in Shanghai
June 20, 2012 Didier Drogba declares he would be joining his former Chelsea teammate Frenchman Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua for the upcoming Chinese Super League season.
July 22, 2012 Drogba makes his debut for Shenhua in a 1-1 away draw against Guangzhou R&F, providing the assist in his side's equalizer.
August 4, 2012 Drogba scores his first two goals in Shenhua's 5-1 win over Hangzhou Greentown.
Drogba scored 8 goals, with 2 assists, in his 11 appearances for the Shanghai club in the CSL.
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