If the billionaire doesn’t get what he wants, the futures of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Shanghai Shenhua will be left to teeter on the shakiest of grounds, according to the London Evening Standard.
Zhu, one of Shanghai Shenhua’s five owners, set a deadline of Oct. 1 to receive a controlling stake in the club. If his demands are not met, he will stop paying the club’s bills.
“Now, I made a difficult decision to believe you one more time, one last time! And this time I have a deadline: two weeks,” the standard reports Zhu said on Weibo.
Players like Drogba and Anelka may not be paid on time or in full if Zhu follows through with his threat. If that happens, the former Chelsea stars could pursue other opportunities, and Shanghai would be almost powerless to stop them.
Zhu owns 28.5 percent of Shanghai Shenhua, but has been paying more than that share of the club’s operating costs. He has been doing so because of an agreement that was struck in 2007. After he bought a 28.5 percent stake in the club, Shanghai Shenhua’s four other owners told Zhu that if he put £15 million ($23.7 million) of his own money into the club, they would give him 70 percent of the club in 2009.
They have yet not fufilled their promise to Zhu, who has spent over £60 million ($94.4 million) building Shanghai Shenhua’s profile. Anelka joined the club in January, and Drogba followed in July.
When the revelations came to light in late August, rumors saying Drogba’s contract had been terminated arose. But his management company dismissed them, claming they were “nonsense,” according to the Mail.
But Sports PR Company did not say anything about Drogba’s position on the ownership dispute or what he intended to do if his £250,000 ($395,000) per-week salary went unpaid.