Galatasaray confirm negotiations with Didier Drogba

Drogba is said to be eager to return to Europe after just six months in China. Photo: PA

Galatasaray have confirmed they have opened talks to sign striker Didier Drogba from Shanghai Shenhua.

A host of clubs have been linked with a move for the Ivory Coast star amid rumours he was set to quit Shanghai just six months after moving to China, and Gala have now officially declared their interest.

A statement on the club's official website this morning read: "Galatasaray Sports Club has begun official negotiations regarding the transfer of Ivorian professional football player Didier Drogba from FC Shanghai Shenhua."

The announcement follows confirmation from Drogba's management company yesterday that the Turkish champions had made a bid to sign the striker.

The 34-year-old joined Shanghai last June soon after helping Chelsea win their first Champions League title, the striker scoring the winning penalty in the Blues' final shootout triumph over Bayern Munich.

Drogba penned a two-and-a-half year deal reportedly worth £200,000 a week with Shanghai but has repeatedly been linked with a move back to Europe in recent months,

Last month Drogba returned to train with Chelsea during the Chinese off-season in preparation for the African Nations Cup, in which he is currently competing in South Africa.

FIFA rejected a special request from the striker for him to join a club on loan outside the transfer window, amid speculation linking him with Juventus, AC Milan and Liverpool, among others.

Despite his protests to the contrary, reports persisted that Drogba's move to China had not worked out, largely due to boardroom wrangling.

If Gala can seal Drogba's services then it would be their second big-name signing this month following last week's capture of Inter Milan star Wesley Sneijder.

Gala are five points clear at the top of the Super Lig standings and are through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they face Schalke.