Chelsea Transfer News: Didier Drogba a Savvy Summer Alternative for the Blues

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2014

Galatasaray's Didier Drogba speaks to the media during a press conference at Stamford Bridge in London, Monday, March 17, 2014. Galatasaray will play Chelsea on Tuesday in their Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match at Stamford Bridge. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Sang Tan/Associated Press

Speculation over Didier Drogba's potential return to Stamford Bridge this summer has intensified after Jose Mourinho voiced his certainty that the striker would one day be back in Chelsea colours.

Speaking ahead of Drogba's return to West London on Tuesday evening, the Portuguese is quoted by The Mirror's Martin Lipton as saying it's inevitable that the 2011-12 Champions League hero makes a return one day:

All Chelsea supporters, we agree with that. Now is not the time to talk about it but we know Didier is a free agent in the summer.

I think it has to happen one day that he returns. When, I don't know. As a player, as a coach, as an ambassador, next year, in four, five years, in 10 years, I don't know. But when a person represents so much to a club and when a club represents so much to a person, and that's the case, I think he has to be back one day.

Galatasaray are tied 1-1 with Chelsea following the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 clash, and Drogba heads back to his former club for the first time since leaving just under two years ago.

Though Mourinho keeps some shade of doubt on Drogba's chances of coming back in a playing capacity, it would be a very sensible avenue for the Premier League giants to take when the Ivorian reaches the end of his Gala contract in three months.

On the other hand, The Telegraph's Paul Hayward hints Mourinho's musings are nothing more than mind games ahead of the European fixture:

It's no secret the striking resources at the Bridge aren't among Chelsea's most reliable assets. Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have struggled to maintain consistent scoring form since their respective moves to the club.

As a result, it's been highly touted that the Blues will look to recruit alternative means of firepower at the end of the campaign.

The Times' Matt Dickinson says despite impressing on occasion, Torres is not the answer to Chelsea's attacking woes:

Were the striker situation more amicable at the moment, one might be tempted to say the English giants shouldn't look back, only forward. However, such is the desperation for a reliable presence up top that Drogba represents an extremely tempting route.

This is a player who already has 157 Chelsea goals to his name, per Soccer Base. Drogba identifies with the club, and at 36 years of age, is still showing good form in front of goal, having scored 16 goals in 34 Galatasaray appearances this term, per Transfermarkt.

As Lipton discusses, the deal also makes sense financially. The player's free acquisition is drastically less than the £45 million cited as Diego Costa's apparent price tag in the same article, and a one-season signature would give the club time to line up their next big move.

Jon Super/Associated Press

What's more, should Romelu Lukaku remain at Stamford Bridge and not leave on a third successive loan—or even a permanent deal—the youngster would benefit massively from Drogba's mentorship, potentially meaning Chelsea need not look elsewhere in the near future.

Players on the "wrong side of 30" often get lumped with a bad reputation, seen as over the hill by many. But as his figures show, Drogba's are a quite unique set of circumstances, and special exemptions can most certainly be justified.