There's some stuff going around about Chelsea players defending/not defending Andre Villas-Boas at the moment, and it's mostly pretty boring. Buried in one of those stories, however, which mostly consists of Didier Drogba giving his public support to the manager, is some news about where the striker will end up next season. It might not be China after all*!
*It strikes me that I've never mentioned the Drogba to Shanghai Shenhua at the end of the season rumours before. Now I have, so you're all caught up.
We are still talking about [a contract extension]. Everybody knows I love the club, everyone knows I want to stay so we are discussing it and let's see what comes out of the discussions. I'm optimistic it can happen but at the same time if it doesn't happen that's life. But you will never change the respect and the love we created together. My heart is blue.
-Didier Drogba. Source: ESPN Soccernet.
As you all(?) know, Drogba is out of contract this summer, and is widely expected to leave the club after so far failing to negotiate a contract extension. While this season has shown just how impotent the club is without Drogba around, attempting to resign a 33-year-old striker on the sort of wages Drogba can command might not be the best idea (it'd be around a 6M hit to our Financial Fair Play expenses too).
Honestly, I think China be a better place for Drogba to be than Chelsea. He's done virtually all he can for the club, and we're probably not going to get that Champions League medal we want until he's well past his retirement date. In Shanghai, he could relax a little bit while making a metric [fun]tonne of money, and the Blues will be in no way able to match what they could pay him. In light of the great opportunity Drogba can pursue if he does leave, that quote reads more like a goodbye than anything else.
In terms of our striker options, Drogba's departure leave us in a bit of a bind. Fernando Torres may once have been a world-class centre forward, but every poor game he has makes expecting him to return to his best look that much more delusional, and Romelu Lukaku's not ready. I'd also be leery of shelling out huge money for a centre forward when we have problems elsewhere, so the only reasonable solution from my perspective would be to move Daniel Sturridge infield.
So, I guess two questions.
- Is Drogba leaving this summer?
- What should we do about it if he does?