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By ESPN Staff

Drogba left at home as Chelsea tour Asia

Chelsea have left for their pre-season tour of Asia without striker Didier Drogba.

The 30-year-old, who scored eight times in the Barclays Premier League last season, has been linked with a transfer away from Stamford Bridge this summer although the Blues claim his absence from the trip is due to the need to recover from a knee injury.

Drogba's omission seems certain to raise further questions about his future, however, with a virtually full-strength squad travelling to play games in China and Malaysia before returning to Europe for the Railways Cup in Moscow.

Another player rumoured to be on his way from the Londoners, Inter Milan target Frank Lampard, is included in the party.

New boys Deco and Jose Bosingwa are in Luiz Felipe Scolari's squad, while Michael Ballack will link up with them in China after finishing a post-Euro 2008 holiday.

Scolari will take charge of his first match as Chelsea manager on Wednesday against Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals.

'The players are not ready yet totally, but we are starting to build a new team and a new philosophy,' the Brazilian told

'This is just the beginning, and I expect after these five games that I will have a general idea about all the players and a system.'


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