When Fernando Torres joined Chelsea from Liverpool last January, the expectation was that he'd essentially be the man to replace Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge. After all, they do both play the lone centre forward position, and attempts to get them to play alongside one another went horribly - and predictably - wrong. So, are we seeing the end of Drogba's Chelsea days?
Not according to the man himself:
Of course [I'd like to sign an extension], why not? We've started talking and it's very interesting. Everybody knows what I feel about Chelsea and what I want. I will definitely be here next season. I said a few years ago that I will be here until the end of my contract, and I am here. Now I need to keep playing well here and giving my best, like I always try to do. This will be my eighth season at this club and it means a lot for any striker to stay that long at Chelsea.
-Didier Drogba. Source: Guardian.
Interesting, eh? Obviously, Drogba wanting to hang around doesn't mean he will stay, but the writing is on the wall and it would be shocking if he doesn't end up re-upping through the end of the 2012-13 season. The extension, apparently, will see him maintain his 120,000 per week wages (6.24M per year) until past his 35th birthday, which is a good chunk of money - and subject to UEFA Financial Fair Play consideration, unlike his previous deal.
One wonders how much the anticipated deal has to do with Torres' poor form last season - certainly Chelsea would be taking a gamble if they ditch a reasonably on-form Drogba for a possibly permanently broken player. I'm sure this has a minor effect, but it can't be the main concern, because if they were always planning on moving Drogba it doesn't make sense for a few games of Torres playing badly to have a big impact on a major aspect of team planning.
I'm not sure that I want to see Drogba going anywhere this summer, but I am worried about his wages and the drop in productivity we'll undoubtedly see as he ages further/contracts malaria again. That's a legitimate concern, I think, and enough to make me ambivalent about the whole deal. But, honestly, Drogba's one of the guys who've done so much for Chelsea that they should get to choose to stay or go on his own terms. If he wants to stay, the club should respect that decision.
But we can still speculate on whether this is a good, bad, or indifferent thing, I suppose. Time for a poll!