Didier Drogba offered MLS contract as Chicago Fire lead chase - sources

Major League Soccer has made a contract offer to Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, multiple sources have told ESPN FC, but there is competition from an unknown Qatari club.

Sources have also confirmed that within MLS, several teams are in the mix to land Drogba, with the Chicago Fire making the strongest push. One source said the Fire were prepared to offer Drogba an 18-month contract worth around $2.5 million per year.

Another source would only say MLS had made an offer to the Ivory Coast international, and that they could receive an answer as soon as this weekend.

The link between the player and MLS was first reported by the Daily Mail earlier this week.

Chicago already has three Designated Players on its roster in Shaun Maloney, David Accam, and Kennedy Igboananike, so if it were to sign Drogba, it would need to use some of the new Targeted Allocation Money to buy down the salary of one of those players -- mostly likely Accam ($721,000 salary) or Igboananike ($902,000) -- in order to comply with MLS roster rules.

Drogba, 37, has been out of contract since his deal with Premier League champions Chelsea expired at the end of last season. He saw the field with some regularity during the 2014-15 campaign, scoring seven goals in 38 appearances across all competitions.

But he started just 12 of those matches as Diego Costa was manager Jose Mourinho's preferred option up top.

Drogba has spent the bulk of career with the Blues, winning four league titles, three League Cups, four FA Cups, and one UEFA Champions League crown.

Drogba first left Chelsea back in 2012, and nearly signed with Chicago back then, but opted to play with Chinese side Shanghai Shenua. He spent just seven months in China, later signing with Turkish club Galatasaray. He then returned to Chelsea prior to the start of last season.

At international level, Drogba is the Ivory Coast's all-time leading scorer with 65 goals, and his 104 appearances rank third behind Kolo Toure's 108 and Didier Zokora's 123.