Montreal Impact owner still unsure on Didier Drogba's future amid Chelsea interest

Didier Drogba

The former Blues striker is set to return to Montreal later in preseason, despite his old club's desire to bring him back in a coaching role.

Speaking to ESPN FC on Monday, Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo could not guarantee that Didier Drogba would remain with the club for the entire 2016 MLS season.

Drogba, 37, signed an 18-month deal with the Impact last summer after his ending his second spell at Chelsea and went on to score 11 times in 11 regular season games as the club secured a third place finish in the Eastern Conference.

The Ivorian striker subsequently added another goal in the 3-0 first-round playoff win over Canadian rivals Toronto FC, before his side’s hopes of a maiden MLS Cup title were dashed with a narrow 4-3 aggregate defeat to Columbus Crew SC in the Conference Semifinals.

Despite the disappointing finish, it was a sensational debut season for the veteran striker, but whether he would return for a second go-round has been in constant doubt since it emerged last month that Chelsea were attempting to bring him back to Stamford Bridge in a coaching role.

A report by L’Equipe in early January even claimed that the physical front man had decided to retire in order to join interim manager Guus Hiddink’s backroom staff, but Drogba soon took to Twitter to refute those claims.

The Impact have since announced that their star man will be linking up with them later in pre-season, but after admitting that talks with Chelsea took place, Saputo sounded somewhat uncertain over just how long he would be sticking around.

Speaking on Monday as his team underwent their first training session of 2016 at the Olympic Stadium, Saputo told ESPN FC: "We did have a discussion with Chelsea. They would've liked to have seen him back with the organization. We spoke to Didier about the possibility that he wanted to think about his post-soccer career.

"He was committed to a contract and he was aware that he's under contract. So I'm happy that he decided to honor the contract."

Asked whether Drogba was on board for the whole of 2016, though, he added: "I can't answer that question. The expectation is that he's going to continue to be a pro. I don't have a feeling on whether he's not going to play, whether he's coming back because he has to come back."

The Impact announced on Sunday that Drogba would re-join the squad on 15 February for the second part of their preseason training camp in Florida, having allowed him to spend the next few weeks working with his personal trainer in Qatar.

At the same time, Chelsea boss Hiddink also confirmed following his side’s 1-0 win at Arsenal that the former fan favourite would not be returning to west London “in the short-term”.

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