Chelsea: Who Will Be Jose Mourinho's New Didier Drogba?

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2013

VALENCIA, SPAIN - APRIL 09:  Chelsea Coach Jose Mourinho (R) shares a joke with striker Didier Drogba  during Chelsea training and press conference ahead of tomorrow's Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match against Valencia, at the Stadium Mestalla on April 9, 2007 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Now that the formalities of contracts and press conferences are out of the way, Jose Mourinho can begin the real workings of his sort-of-new job. Whilst we are unlikely to hear him say “Mr Abramovich, members of the board, I need some money with a lot of zeros, I need to change half the team, move this one and buy this one,” any time soon, the Especially Happy One will want to make his mark on the new Chelsea squad that he has inherited.

One of the standout signings from his first stint in charge was Didier Drogba. The 6'2", 185-pound striker cost £24 million in the summer of 2004, and he went on to become crucial to the first team that Mourinho built. His 157 goals in 341 appearances were key to the Blues three Premier League titles, and his penchant for scoring in a cup final helped guide Chelsea to nine major trophies.

Mourinho will be looking for a player who can replicate this kind of form to ensure that, whatever happens, his legacy at Stamford Bridge will again live on. Luckily, Chelsea have a few players currently in the squad who have the potential to replicate Drogba's achievements.

The obvious choice is Romelu Lukaku, a 20-year-old Belgian wonderkid who is similar in height, build and hairstyle to his Ivorian predecessor. Having spent the 2012-13 season out on loan at West Bromwich Albion, scoring 17 goals in 20 appearances, Lukaku is raring to prove himself at Stamford Bridge. His youthful enthusiasm combined with Mourinho's coaching could turn Lukaku into Drogba mark two, although you should avoid suggesting that (The Daily Mail) to Romelu himself.

Another, less obvious, choice is Juan Mata. Granted, he is neither as tall nor as powerful as Drogba, but his skill and pace more than make up for that. His 12 goals and 17 assists in the Premier League alone underline what a key player he is.

Much like Drogba, his presence is missed when he is not in the side, and in the few games he was forced to sit out last season it became clear that he is the catalyst for Chelsea's magic. He is also a fan favourite, and has won the Chelsea Player of the Year award twice, despite only playing for the club for two seasons.

Of course, Roman Abramovich's billions make it equally likely that Mourinho could look outside the club for his next talisman. Edinson Cavani is favourite to relieve Fernando Torres of his striker duties, with The Guardian reporting that the Uruguayan is "keen" to work under Mourinho at Chelsea.

In 2009-10, Didier Drogba found the net 37 times in 44 appearances, the second 30-plus goal haul of his Chelsea career. By contrast, Cavani has scored over 30 goals in each of the last three seasons since he joined Napoli.

That level of productivity would allow Cavani to surpass Drogba's record of 157 goals within four years, half the time it took the Ivorian legend. None of his goals would be as important as Drogba's final penalty kick, but Cavani clearly has the potential to make a similar impact on the Premier League.

Wherever he looks for his "next big thing," it is certain that Mourinho is the sort of coach who gets the best out of the players he works with. Whoever he chooses as his next protege will be lucky to work with him, and will have the best chance possible of becoming a Chelsea legend.