Veteran striker Didier Drogba has reached an agreement with Chelsea on a one-year deal. The move comes after the longtime Chelsea star decided to end his stay with Galatasaray and return to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea reported the news on the club's website, with Drogba saying:
It was an easy decision - I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me.
My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team. I am excited for this next chapter of my career.
Jose Mourinho also commented on the transaction:
He's coming because he's one of the best strikers in Europe. I know his personality very well and I know if he comes back he's not protected by history or what he's done for this club previously. He is coming with the mentality to make more history.
The striker commented further on Instagram:
Drogba joined Galatasaray in January 2013 after a short stint with Shanghai Shenhua. Although he only spent a season-and-a-half with the Turkish club, he certainly left his mark. He scored 16 goals in 49 matches, as per Soccerbase, across all competitions.
The side also qualified for Champions League play this past season. The 36-year-old striker showed he could still play at that elite level, with two goals and three assists in eight matches in last year's tournament. It was an impressive display for someone whose form was supposed to drop off years ago.
Goal.com passed along the comments Drogba made on the club's television station after making the decision to pursue other opportunities:
Galatasaray will always be in my heart, I'm very proud to have represented this team.
I didn't come here for money. If I wanted money I would have stayed in China. I came to Turkey to play football, to feel the passion again. Scoring against Fenerbahce and Besiktas, I think I gave some happiness to our fans.
It wasn't clear exactly how much Drogba had left when his days at Stamford Bridge came to an end a few years ago. He had scored nearly 160 goals across eight seasons, but the Blues opted to give other players a chance to lead the attack.
The results weren't what they were hoping for, to say the least. Opta Chelsea notes the struggles of Chelsea's forwards since his departure:
0 - Since Didier Drogba’s departure, no Chelsea striker has reached double figures for goals scored in the Premier League. Missed.— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) May 15, 2014
Meanwhile, Drogba continued to provide both Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray with an efficient attacking option. He wasn't as dynamic as in years past, but he still showcased the same knack for scoring key goals as he always had.
Can Drogba still be a key piece of a successful attack?
It made him an intriguing commodity once he became available on a free transfer. And now that he's found a new home, the pressure is on once again.
Drogba will be expected to keep performing at a high level for at least one more season. It wouldn't be a surprise if the club limits his playing time throughout the season in order to keep him as fresh as possible for the stretch run.
The risk is limited since it's only a short-term deal. That said, Drogba was brought in for the sole purpose of providing a notable boost to the attack. It will be a disappointment if he isn't able to do that, though it's clear he won't be able to thrive forever.
Yet, given his continued success since leaving Chelsea, he should prove worth the investment.