The Montreal Impact has acquired the MLS rights to Ivorian striker Didier Drogba from the Chicago Fire, and is poised to sign the player to a contract, sources have told ESPN FC.
The current deal on the table will see Drogba, 37, sign an 18-month contract in excess of $3 million per year but the former Chelsea forward has not yet put pen to paper. The deal is contingent on Drogba signing the contract with Montreal.
Chicago initially obtained Drogba's rights by filing a discovery claim on the player and pursued him for over a month. The Fire thought its offer would be enough to entice the former Chelsea forward to head to the Windy City but Montreal soon entered the fray, and the prospect of playing in the French-speaking city proved more attractive to the former Ivory Coast captain.
When Drogba indicated his preference was to be in Montreal, the Fire traded his rights to the Impact in exchange for what one source with knowledge of the deal described as a "substantial amount of targeted and regular allocation money" well in excess of $100,000.
This marks the second time in two seasons that Chicago has missed out on a high-profile designated player. In 2014 the club went through a protracted attempt to sign U.S. international midfielder Jermaine Jones that ended with the Fire getting nothing and the player ending up with the New England Revolution via a league-mandated (and much derided) blind draw.
The current MLS transfer window ends on Aug. 6, and Chicago manager Frank Yallop has mentioned on several occasions that he has other targets in mind.