Didier Drogba was closing in on a dramatic return to European football on Sunday night after his management company confirmed Galatasaray had made a bid to sign the striker.
Speculation has been rife that Chelsea's Champions League-winning hero was set to quit Shanghai Shenhua after just six months in China, with a host of clubs linked with the Ivory Coast star.
But Galatasaray have moved into pole position after making an offer to his current club, with a spokesperson for the Sports PR Company telling Press Association Sport: "They have made a formal bid for him."It is understood a deal could be concluded as early as this evening for the 34-year-old, amid reports he has agreed an 18-month contract.
Turkish champions Galatasaray have already signed Inter Milan star Wesley Sneijder this month as they look to bolster their squad after reaching the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Schalke, and they have also been heavily linked with Manchester City defender Kolo Toure.
Drogba's last act for Chelsea before joining Shenhua last summer was scoring the winning penalty in their final shootout triumph.
Last month Drogba returned to train with his old club during the Chinese off-season in preparation for the African Nations Cup, in which he is currently competing in South Africa.
FIFA rejected a special request from the striker for him to join a club on loan outside the transfer window, amid speculation linking him with Juventus, AC Milan and Liverpool, among others.
Despite his protests to the contrary, reports persisted that Drogba's move to China had not worked out, largely due to boardroom wrangling.
He signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Shenhua, netting him around £250,000 a week and reuniting him with Nicolas Anelka.
Anelka is on the verge of joining Juventus on a deal until the end of the season.
There are conflicting reports about the precise nature of Drogba's move to Galatasaray, amid suggestions it would initially be a loan arrangement with an option to buy for around £8.5million.