Chelsea: Didier Drogba Reportedly Passes on Contract Offer from Blues

Kevin StottSenior Analyst IJanuary 27, 2013

Didier Drogba and Petr Cech celebrate the greatest win in Chelsea history after Drogba's game-winning penalty kick against Bayern Munich on May 19, 2012, in the UEFA Champions League final at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
Didier Drogba and Petr Cech celebrate the greatest win in Chelsea history after Drogba's game-winning penalty kick against Bayern Munich on May 19, 2012, in the UEFA Champions League final at the Allianz Arena in Munich.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Nobody ever said it was ever easy being a Chelsea fan.

Despite being the defending European and FA Cup champions and having one of the richest and most high-profile clubs in world football, Blues fans had to endure another week of disappointments at Stamford Bridge.

Sunday's 2-2 draw against Brentford at Griffin Park in FA Cup fourth-round play was a real downer as the tired and thinned-out roster almost lost to the League One side but earned a replay at home on a late Fernando Torres equalizer against the Bees.

But the real depressing news of the week came hours after the match when The Daily Mail reported that former Blues legend Didier Drogba rejected a deal OK'd by owner Roman Abramovich that would have offered the Ivorian striker and club legend a contract until the end of the season with an option for an additional year.

And like all of the other really big things on Chelsea's plate lately, the news was not good for the club, nor the millions of blue-blooded fans worldwide.

First, the Blues saw chances at adding some more silverware to their cabinet evaporate with disappointing losses in the Community Shield (Manchester City), the Super Cup (Atlético Madrid), the Club World Cup (Corinthians) and the Capital One Cup semifinals (Swansea City).

Chelsea was also eliminated from the Champions League tournament—the first defending champion to have that happen to them before the round of 16—and relegated to playing Europa League football on Thursdays.

Pretty demoralizing stuff for a club as proud as the Blues, which ended last season on the highest of all possible highs.

Then it seemed to really get ugly in west London with the sacking of beloved manager and former Chelsea player Roberto Di Matteo and subsequent appointment of former Liverpool head man Rafael Benítez as interim manager.

Let the vitriol flow, brother.

And if that wasn't enough, all those sugary rumors of Atlético's Radamel Falcao coming to Chelsea suddenly devolved into wishful thinking earlier this month as the Los Rojiblancos superstar decided to stay put at Vicente Calderón Stadium until at least the end of this season.

So a perfect chance for superman Drogba to return from his stint at Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League and save the day, right?

Wrong, celery breath.

Apparently the lure of playing Champions League football weighed heavier for the 34-year-old Drogba, who according to the Daily Mail story is poised to sign an 18-month deal with Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig.

And can you blame him with all of the negativity going around Stamford Bridge these days?

Drogba—who when last in a Blues uniform delivered the epic game-tying and game-winning goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final as Chelsea won its first-ever European championship—led the club to three English Premier League crowns and three FA Cup titles during his reign.

So with the winter transfer deadline approaching Thursday and the scuffling club only adding striker Demba Ba from Newcastle United so far, talks to get Drogba back into the fold again apparently kicked into high gear.

But disappointment is now obviously Chelsea's middle name and it looks as though Drogba is now headed to Istanbul to play with the Cimbom, who also signed Wesley Sneijder last week and are looking at Drogba's fellow Ivory Coast teammate, Kolo Touré, who is now playing for defending league champions Manchester City.

Galatasaray plays the Bundesliga's FC Schalke next month when the Champions League round of 16 play gets under way.

Drogba had been in London training with Chelsea ahead of the Ivory Coast's appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament—in which Les Elephants have gotten off to a 2-0 start—and all his former teammates and Chelsea fans welcomed him with open arms.

But no real solid rumors of Drogba's possible return to Stamford Bridge cropped up until the Daily Mail piece, and of course for Blues fans were revealed in the same story that says he is now Galatasaray-bound.

That's just the way it seems things have been going for Chelsea of late—straight downhill.

But don't shed a tear for the Blues and management as the club's decision to build its attack around beleaguered £50 million striker Fernando Torres as well as its despicable offer of a year extension at reduced terms to Drogba—which he declined this summer—put them in this precarious position.

It seems even a player as decent and loyal as Drogba can see that things are just a little bit too shaky at Chelsea right now and that his best bet is to take his talents elsewhere and see if he can make some more magic happen in Europe.

And if you really think about it from a football and a happiness point of view, you just can't be mad at Drogba.

Would you want to be the guy to come in now and try to save this schizophrenic club that has struggled with the likes of teams like Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and Brentford in the last month and whose fans despise their current manager more than Frosty the Snowman hates summer?

I thought not. Me neither.


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