Make way for another international superstar in MLS.
The Montreal Impact confirmed the signing of Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba Monday, making him the latest big signing for MLS during a year in which the likes of Kaká, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Giovani Dos Santos and Sebastian Giovinco have all joined the league.
Montreal had to acquire Drogba's MLS rights from the Chicago Fire, which had the first priority to sign him via the league's Discovery process. According to ESPN FC, Chicago's compensation was a combination of regular and targeted allocation money in excess of $250,000. The Fire announced the addition of former Toronto FC striker Gilberto as a Designated Player just prior to Montreal lifting the lid on their Drogba signing.
Both the Fire and Impact had confirmed talks last week with the 37-year-old Ivorian striker, who won the 2011-12 Champions League with Chelsea by netting a late equalizer and scoring the decisive penalty kick against Bayern Munich. Impact owner Joey Saputo told TSN radio in Montreal that, "[Drogba] didn't hide the fact that Montreal would be a perfect fit for him. The conversation with Didier was completely in French, which was comforting to him. ... We're not going to hide the fact that I think Didier checks a lot of the boxes of what we'd like to see in a Designated Player."
Drogba will look to help a club currently occupying the final playoff place in the Eastern Conference, and he'll provide an apt outlet for fellow DP Ignacio Piatti, who leads the club with six goals and four assists.
In his storied career, Drogba is the Ivory Coast's all-time leading goal scorer (65 goals in 105 games), and he tallied 164 goals and 88 assists in his two stints at Chelsea. Should he be ready for action this weekend, he could potentially debut against Chelsea's all-time leading scorer, Lampard. Montreal faces NYCFC at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.