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‘Significant progress’ in Juve-Drogba talks

MILAN, Italy, December 16 – Juventus have made “significant progress” in their bid to sign Didier Drogba, who has agreed in principle to an 18-month deal with the Serie A champions, reports said Sunday.

The 34-year-old signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Shanghai Shenhua in July but the Ivory Coast striker could be reconsidering his options after a disappointing start to his career in China, where Shenhua recently finished well down the league table.

Drogba has recently been in London, where his representatives have reportedly been in talks with Juventus management over a future deal.

Reports on Saturday said Juventus had originally offered a six-month deal for Drogba while he was seeking a two-and-a-half year deal.

A compromise now appears to have been reached, according to Gazzetta dello Sport’s website which said Sunday both parties had agreed “in principle” to an 18-month contract.

Both parties, however, have yet to negotiate and agree financial terms.

Sunday’s report said that while Juventus president Beppe Moratta has offered Drogba 3.5 million euros plus bonuses per season the striker’s demands hover around the five million mark, plus bonuses.

Considered a legend at Chelsea, Drogba – who headed the equaliser and scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich last season – would likely rile some fans of the London club if he does agree to join Juventus.

Juventus routed Chelsea 3-0 in Turin recently on their way to qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League, as the Blues became the first defending champions to fail to make it past the group stages.

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Despite boasting a quality side, Juventus are still in the market for one or two top class strikers.

Although striker Mirko Vucinic has a regular starting place in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 formation, the coach experiments by pairing the Montenegrin with Sebastian Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella or Alessandro Matri.

While the Turin giants have one eye on Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, who can leave Athletic Bilbao for free at the end of the season, the quick solution would be Drogba.

Gazzetta’s report said negotiations could continue over the Christmas period, after which Drogba will participate in the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

Juventus’s last 16 matches will take place on February 12 and 20.

Juventus hold a four-point lead over Inter Milan in Italy’s Serie A but can extend that to seven points with a win over Atalanta later Sunday.

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