BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire are hoping to learn “in the next 48 hours” if their attempt to sign Cote d'Ivoire international star Didier Drogba will be successful.
The former Chelsea striker has been linked with a move to MLS, with the Fire and the Montreal Impact confirmed suitors. And with Inter Milan also in the mix, Fire head coach Frank Yallop revealed after his side’s 3-1 US Open Cup victory over Orlando City that he expects a decision by the weekend.
“We’re waiting on an answer, probably in the next 48 hours,” Yallop said at Wednesday's post-match press conference. “We’re just waiting for a decision from their side on what way he wants to go. He has choices. We feel that we’ve put a pretty good pitch in. He’s very happy with what we’ve done, but, again, it’s up the person himself to choose, and we’ll see.”
Within MLS, the Fire are in the driving seat to land the Ivorian as they hold a Discovery Claim over the 37-year-old, but following their misfortune during their attempts to sign Jermaine Jones last year, all involved at the club are understandably treading cautiously around the Drogba speculation.
They did, however, confirm their interest in Drogba through a club spokesman on Tuesday.
“The Chicago Fire are interested in signing Didier Drogba and have been in direct contact with the player and his agent to negotiate a contract,” the club said in a statement. “We would love to have Mr. Drogba join our club and we are working within the rules set by Major League Soccer for the discovery process. In accordance with those rules, it is inappropriate for anyone outside our club to infringe upon this process.”
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Speaking to the media on Tuesday afternoon, Yallop said a proven striker like Drogba would help the club in multivaried ways.
“To bring a player of his stature here would be fantastic for not only the fans, [but for] the club and everyone involved in that for what he’s done in the game, and what he’s going to do,” Yallop said.