A couple of days after ESPN first reported Chicago's interest in Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, reports out of Canada indicate that the Ivorian strongman is indeed MLS bound, but not for the Windy City - instead, his preferred landing spot is apparently Montreal.
Quebec is the lone French-speaking outpost in North America. The TSN story indicates that Drogba's representatives - whose native language is French - has engaged in negotiations "so advanced and intense ... that they have lately been carried out in French." If the report is accurate, the implication is that Drogba is personally involved, which is surely a bad sign for any potential deal with the Fire.
There is the lingering issue of Chicago's extant Discovery claim on the striker. Unfortunately for the Fire, there are new rules in place preventing the Men in Red from extorting any talent out of the Impact for releasing the Discovery claim - the Galaxy had to pony up $50,000 in allocation for New England as compensation for their Discovery claim on Sebastian Lletget.
Hot (Time) take
The expectation here is that the Impact will indeed land Drogba, and the Fire will receive $50,000 in
cold consolation allocation money.
Of course this is galling for Chicago supporters who remember another Discovery situation - that of US and Fulham legend Brian McBride. When 'Bake' indicated he'd prefer to end his playing career in his hometown, Toronto extorted a player on the fringe of the starting XI (Chad Barrett) and a draft pick to abandon their Discovery claim. A similar outcome this time would see the Fire receive a player like Kenny Cooper or Eric Alexander and a draft pick - roughly a 4:1 ratio over the allocation money.
However butthurt we may feel about MLS' ever-evolving ruleset, it's entirely possible the league is doing the Fire a favor here. Drogba would almost certainly make the Fire attack more potent; but is this squad a single player away from contending? If Didier were 27, not 37 - yes, perhaps. Today? Certainly not.