(Reuters) - Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba has asked FIFA for special permission to leave China’s Shanghai Shenhua on loan before the January transfer window, Chinese media reported on Thursday.
With the Chinese Super League season over, the former Chelsea forward wants to keep himself sharp for the African Nations Cup, which begins on January 19.
“The FIFA administration services are looking into it,” FIFA said in a statement.
The 34-year-old teamed up with former Chelsea strike partner Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai in June after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the big-spending club.
Drogba has scored eight goals in 11 games for the Chinese side but Shenhua only finished ninth in the 16-team table, 20 points behind champions Guangzhou Evergrande.
Under current rules, Drogba, who spent eight seasons with Chelsea after joining the European champions from French side Marseille, cannot play for another club until January 1.
Ivory Coast, currently on a 22-match unbeaten run, are favourites to win the African Nations Cup in South Africa, which runs until February 10.
Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by John O'Brien