Drogba absent from Chelsea tour

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Didier Drogba

Chelsea left for their pre-season tour of China and Malaysia on Sunday without striker Didier Drogba.

Drogba, 30, who has been linked with a transfer away from Chelsea, requires further treatment on a knee injury, according to Chelsea's website.

His absence may spark fresh speculation about the Ivory Coast star's future.

Frank Lampard was included in the squad which left London for China under new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari amid on-going reports about a move to Inter Milan.

A statement from Chelsea said: "Didier Drogba will not be travelling as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury at the Cobham training ground."

Drogba has been linked with possible moves to AC Milan and Barcelona but his agent has hinted that he may agree a new deal at Stamford Bridge before the new season starts.

Scolari claimed at his official unveiling that Drogba was still "200% in his plans" for the squad.

Claudio Pizarro was also omitted from the tour squad because of injury but Michael Ballack will join up with the squad in China after taking a holiday following Euro 2008.

Chelsea open their tour against Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals on 23 July and follow that with matches against Chengdu Blades in Macau three days later and Malaysian Select XI in Kuala Lumpur on 29 July before travelling on to Russia for two games.

Scolari is relishing the opportunity to see his players in action for the first time during the tour of Asia.

"The players are not ready yet totally, but we are starting to build a new team and a new philosophy.

"This is just the beginning, and I expect after these fives games that I have a general idea about all the players and a system."

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was conspicuous by his absence from the Chelsea squad that left the UK for their pre-season Asian tour.

The news is likely to increase speculation that the Ivorian will leave Stamford Bridge this summer, as the striker has been linked with a move to a number of clubs.

Whilst the official line from the club is that Drogba has stayed at home due to injury this is unlikely to quell the speculation over the striker’s future.

Drogba joined the West London club from Marseille in 2004 and after a slow start to his Chelsea career has established himself as one of the Blues’ most important players. He has won two league titles during his time in London and one FA Cup.

However, last season saw his campaign interrupted by injury and the African Cup of Nations and this limited Drogba to just 17 league starts and 8 Premier League goals.

The Ivorian, 31, has refused to commit his future to Chelsea which has led to him reportedly being targeted by a number of clubs including Barcelona, AC Milan, Real Madrid and Inter.

Chelsea are playing games in China, Malaysia and Russia as part of their pre-season tour with their first match taking place on Wednesday against Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals.

Frank Lampard, who like Drogba has also been heavily linked with a move away from the club, was part of the squad.

Drogba absent from Chelsea tour Reviewed by admin Ucop on 11:45 AM Rating: 5

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