Growing up in West Africa, Nicolas Jackson was an avid watcher of the Premier League, including his countryman Demba Ba, and of course the one and only Didier Drogba. And he was not only watching, but getting inspired and motivated, hoping to one day emulate them.
That day has arrived, with his signing as Chelsea’s newest striker announced yesterday. One step closer to fulfilling those childhood dreams!
“I wanted to join a big team [and] when Chelsea came there was no question in my mind. I always had this kind of team in my mind. I talked to my family and my agent and I have icons who played here — Drogba and Ba, big strikers. So when Chelsea came my heart said the answer should be yes and I decided to follow it and come here.
“I remember the Champions League final in 2012 and especially when Drogba scored that header right at the end. I watched those players for Chelsea when I was growing up so I decided to follow in their footsteps. Hopefully that’s what continues to happen now I’m here.”
Jackson nearly joined AFC Bournemouth back in January, but a stellar second half of the season meant even more interest in his services.
And Chelsea came not only with a recommendation from Ba, but with an endorsement of our new head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, by one of the players he had help turn into a world star, Sadio Mané.
“It’s amazing to have this feeling [...] I met Demba when I went to Senegal with the national team and wanted to ask him about Chelsea when I saw him during the last international break, but I couldn’t because there were too many people around. So I decided to wait and text him about it once I have signed for Chelsea and send him the shirt I wore for my signing too.”
“[And] I spoke to Sadio Mane about [Pochettino] and he spoke very highly of him, he said amazing things about him. Sadio told me the manager is going to help me a lot to improve and do well if I listen to what he has to tell me, so that is exactly what I’m going to do.”
At age 22, Jackson is certainly just getting started. We haven’t had a consistent goal-threat in seemingly forever. With an eight-year contract, this is a glorious opportunity for someone like Jackson to indeed follow in some iconic footsteps and become a hero at this club just like his idols.
“I always give my best and give 100 per cent and always help the team, because I want to achieve things as a person and as a group. I always want more achievements, so hopefully if I work hard here those things will come and we will achieve things together at Chelsea, with the support of my team-mates and the fans.”
-Nicolas Jackson; source: Chelsea FC