Chelsea Transfer News: Didier Drogba Would Be Ideal Back-Up to Diego Costa

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Galatasaray's Didier Drogba, left, embraces Chelsea's John Terry at the end of the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Chelsea and Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge stadium  in London Tuesday, March 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Didier Drogba's return to Stamford Bridge provided a timely reminder of his legendary status at Chelsea on Tuesday.

As Jose Mourinho gears up for a summer of spending—particularly in the attacking department—it would be diligent of the Portuguese boss to re-sign Drogba to support another world-class forward in the shape of Diego Costa.

Although an ideal scenario for the Blues, it isn't particularly far-fetched. Costa continues to be feverishly linked with a move to Chelsea, per Jamie Sanderson of Metro, while Drogba's recent West London revival has thrown out a number of interesting tidbits from those at the club.

Frank Lampard is the latest to welcome the Ivorian back in any capacity possible, as reported by the Evening Standard (via Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports):

Of course I'd like to see Didier back as a coach or as a player. The manager said before the game that you can't see him not being part of the club in some shape or form.

It's up to him and the club, but he's always going to be regarded as a legend and held in the top bracket in this club. I'm sure if he can give something back, I'm sure Didier would love to.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Mourinho confirmed he is looking to bring Drogba back before the match but hinted it may not be for some time, as reported by Matt Law of The Telegraph:

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

Despite failing to impress at the head of an unambitious Galatasaray lineup during the recent 2-0 loss to Chelsea (3-1 on aggregate), Drogba still possesses the quality to significantly galvanise the Premier League club's chances of success.

Mourinho showed he still knows how to work the striker, as noted by Wayne Veysey of

At 36 years old, he wouldn't play every game if he returned. Much like the addition of Samuel Eto'o, who is finally proving his worth with important goals, Drogba would benefit from a bit-part role. Unlike Eto'o, he has the leadership skills and consistent form to ensure he would contribute whether playing or not.

Drogba still offers the physically adept style that made Mourinho's first Chelsea tenure such a triumph, a factor that has been missing upon the manager's return. Even though the Blues are top of the English top flight and remain in the Champions League, Mourinho is forced to chose between a trio of strikers who lack definitive attributes.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Eto'o's lightening pace has disappeared alongside old age, Fernando Torres' once-electric fleet of foot and finishing ability is sporadic, while Demba Ba's lethality is outweighed by his lack of contribution across the pitch.

Drogba would provide an alternative option—hold-up play that invites the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian to burst forward—without unbalancing the side. He is a threat from set pieces, both when he stands over the ball or resides in the box, and he is more than capable of defending when called upon.

Mourinho would be smart to sign him up alongside someone of Costa's billing. The Spanish international is the man Chelsea would call upon for 30 goals a season—highlighted by his run of 29 goals in 32 appearances for Atletico Madrid, per—but Drogba could provide the top-up.

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

No defender would want to face the speed, guile and energy of Costa, followed by the imposing power of Drogba. His arrival onto the pitch would usher in a real feeling of confidence, the idea that everything will turn out well, as it so often did during his first spell with the club.

Ryan Giggs' display during Manchester United's recent 3-0 win over Olympiakos underlined the importance of striking a balance. The 40-year-old player/coach helped pick the Greek side off with his passing, providing United with control and giving the team a knowing confidence. A similar role for Drogba would supply Chelsea with the same type of belief.

It's ironic that a transitional period can be counterbalanced with the return of a former star at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho has always relied on his more experienced stars at Chelsea—think Lampard, John Terry and Petr Cech—a category Drogba undoubtedly falls into.

The African hero would cost very little and knows the area and the people extremely well, proposing something of a no-brainer. If Mourinho can recall Drogba alongside another world-class striker, Chelsea's already excellent prospects would strengthen even further.