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Chinese champs deny interest in attaining Drogba

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(Reuters) -- Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will not be joining China's Guangzhou Evergrande after the defending national champions ended speculation over a bold transfer swoop.

"We have (had) no contact with Drogba whatsoever, nor... authorised anyone to contact him," the club said on its official website.

"The recent Drogba reports are pure speculation, he is not in our plans."

Drogba could now be closer to joining Chinese rivals Shanghai Shenhua after they signed his Chelsea striking partner Nicola Anelka last month.

Former French international Jean Tigana is set to take over as Shanghai coach and the club have declared their interest in bringing Ivory Coast international Drogba in too.

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Promoted Dalian Aerbin have also been linked with Drogba, 33, who is entering the last six months of his current contract with Chelsea.

Guangzhou were believed to be lining up an astonishing $625,000 a week deal for Drogba, according to Tuesday's China Daily, before club's denial.

The club's owner Xu Jiayin has promised to invest $100 million in the transfer market this year as they set bid to add Asian glory to their first Chinese Super League title.

Shanghai director Zhou Jun was quoted as saying: "We will wait for Guangzhou for 10 days... if they do not act, we will."

That remark prompted an unnamed Guangzhou official to respond: "(Shanghai) may already signed Drogba, 80 percent possibility, Zhu's words may be just be hype."