Well that didn't take long, did it?
Almost as soon as our true blue hearts were broken romantically by the man who handed us our first Champions League title, the denials began. According to ESPNSoccerNet and every other source, Drogba's representative are roundly denying that our favorite Ivorian meant what he said. In their own words, Drogba's agents claimed the comments were "not genuine."
For those of you who have forgotten last year's Drog-drama, Didier's principal representative is a man named Thierno Seydi. A fellow francophonic African, Theirno didn't mince a single word last year when he said Drogba's future will be all about the money.
Remember when this lovely little gem made its way onto the dirtsheets last year? Courtesy of our very own Therno:
Didier has had the offer of a one-year extension from Chelsea. That does not suit us. We know what we want, where we want to go and what offers we have.
Milan came in for Didier on loan with an option to buy but I said “No” straight away. Their offer did not interest us.
At Didier’s age, he has nothing left to prove as a player. He will go where he is offered the most money. It could be the United States, Russia, Qatar or somewhere else in Asia. Once you are well into your 30s you have to go to a club where you can be certain you’ll be able to pay your bills.
LA Galaxy are a possibility among many others. He has been linked with Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, as they pay well. But neither Didier nor I have had an offer from them.
As much as I don't want to believe this is a leverage ploy, that's exactly what it smells like. Drogba tipped his hand prematurely when he gave that interview. Good personal choices are often bad business and however tragically cathartic that interview may have seemed to all of us, it takes away a very important negotiating tool from Therno's arsenal.
If Chelsea believe that there's even a chance of Drogba remaining in blue, they'll have to make an obligatory bid. That bid will probably be a healthy one, what with us swimming in Russian energy dollars and all. Therno will then take that bid over to Shanghai (or wherever) and use it as a baseline for negotiation, probably taking on a few zeroes while in layover.
That's what the cynical side of me believes, anyway. The optimist in me still retains hope that somehow Drogba will finish out his career as a super-sub in London for a reasonable price, tutoring the likes of Lukaku and Sturridge, molding them into his eventual world-beating replacements, and finally retiring a Chelsea legend.
Alas, Drogba is already a Chelsea legend. Nothing I say or do -- indeed, nothing HE does -- can possibly change that now. Ultiamtely, there is only one man who can decide whether or not Didier Drogba stays or goes. That man is Drogba himself. If he decides that staying at Chelsea is emotionally important, then no financial force on earth will make him move. And the only thing that could make him stay is the faint specter of moral obligation. He hasn't had a stable coach/mentor in several years and most of his original teammates are planning moves of their own, if not already gone.
Is London worth it to a 34-year-old Didier? I can't say.
Either way, here's looking at you, Double D. No matter how rich you may get abroad, your greatest treasure will always be that CL final.