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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Chelsea: Could Drogba still succeed in the Premier League?

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It has been reported that the Special One wants to bring former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba back to Stamford Bridge, but at the age of 35 can the Ivory Coast hitman still be a hit in the Premier League?

Didier Drogba will forever be a hero in the eyes of Chelsea fans for it was his spot kick in Munich in 2012 that clinched the Champions League. But he brought so much more to the party than that. Drogba was like nothing the English game had seen before. He had immense strength, but for someone so big he glided across the turf. Drogba gave Premier League defenders more nightmares than the taxman! He could score from anywhere on the pitch, with any part of his body and generally loved hitting the back of the net. Critics would also say he loved hitting the deck just as much, but we'll get round to that in a bit.

DrogbaCurrently at Galatasary, Drogba is Chelsea's fourth top scorer of all time but he would need two fantastic seasons at least to see him topple Kerry Dixon in third place. Drogba has 157 goals to his name while Dixon is on 193. But under the guise of Jose Mourinho you wouldn't rule it out. After all Drogba is a smart player in an attacking minded team, while Premier League defences will never be known for their ability to actually defend. 

Mourinho of course brought Drogba to Stamford Bridge in 2004 for a fee of £24 million. Many baulked at the price tag and it took the former Marseille striker time to adapt. Spells on the sideline through injury also halted his early days, but it didn't affect the boys on the pitch as Chelsea won back-to-back Premier League titles. 

A change of squad number in the 2006/07 season was the turning point in his career though as he went on to score 33 times and officially stamped his mark on the English game. Three seasons later though he scored even more, this time 37 goals - including 29 in 32 Premier League appearances as Chelsea won the league and cup double.

However, Drogba was never out of the headlines for long. If it wasn't for scoring, Drogba was in the news regarding allegations of cheating and diving. As Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez hit out at Drogba's theatrics on the pitch and the striker was sent off in the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United. His dying swan impression enraged rival fans, but Drogba always did what he thought was right for Chelsea. Although his actions at full-time of the controversial Champions League semi-final defeat against Barcelona in 2009 almost saw him out of the door.

Drogba was in tears the day Mourinho left Chelsea in 2007 and would surely relish the opportunity to work with him again. It could also be a win-win situation for the Blues. They sign an experienced striker who knows the club, knows the players and knows the Premier League, and he can assist in the progression of his prodigy Romelu Lukaku. The youngster showed last season while on loan at West Brom that he can handle himself in the top flight, but imagine what he could learn from the master? 

His return could cast a doubt over the future of Fernando Torres again but the Spaniard has failed to produce anything near his best in a Chelsea shirt. Forget his goal return last season. If I had played 64 games for Chelsea with the supply from Mata, Oscar, Ramires and Lampard I'm pretty sure I would have scored just as many. Torres will have to sharpen up if he is to remain in Mourinho's plans. 

So, could Drogba still be a hit at Chelsea? Personally I think he could. Given that Chelsea have been linked with a number of top class strikers so far - which would cost them millions - Drogba would be equally as effective for a fraction of the price. He may be in the twilight of his career but there is plenty of life left in those legs yet. 

Calling all Chelsea fans: How do you feel about the prospect of Drogba returning to Stamford Bridge? Do you think it's a good thing or would you rather Mourinho planned for the future? Given the choice of Drogba or Rooney, who would you prefer to sign? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter at @sqf_illingworth


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Antony Melvin



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