Chelsea's chances of bringing Didier Drogba back to Stamford Bridge this summer have received a boost after Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta revealed his club will not sign the Ivorian.
Drogba is out of contract this summer after spending the last 18 months at Galatasaray, and Marotta is quoted by Ben Gladwell and Ian Holyman of ESPN FC as saying in a Milan meeting that the Bianconeri have rejected the chance to bring him in:
Drogba is free and he has been offered to us, but we have never even considered a deal. We have clear ideas and we are a winning side, with our coach who leads the way. For this reason, I can exclude us the possibility of us selling any of our stars too.
It was suggested by Metro's Jamie Sanderson earlier this month that Drogba might return to west London in a player-coach role, which would seem more plausible with Juve out of the hunt.
Even at 36 years of age, the striker is bound to have a lot of interest in his services, although Jose Mourinho's past relationship with the player would undoubtedly work in the Blues' favour.
Drogba bowed out of his Chelsea career in 2012, having won Chelsea the Champions League with his last kick of a ball in a blue shirt. The club's failed hunt for a consistent scoring threat since his departure means his signature could serve in providing a dangerous, albeit short-term solution.
Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports claims that Juventus would sign Drogba were it not for the limits placed on their summer spending:
Drogba's Chelsea background is a well-founded tale of success in which he scored 157 goals in 341 appearances for the Blues, per the official club website.
However, one has to question whether resorting to old formulas is the way forward for Mourinho's men, even if Drogba arrived for a season. Instead, the English giants may seek to uncover a new scoring sensation in a bid to weave a new tapestry within their ranks.
That being said, Fernando Torres or Samuel Eto'o may have been expected to do similar, and their acquisitions have shown that spending big doesn't necessarily guarantee results.
With Eto'o set to leave Chelsea as a free transfer, one forward who will be sticking with the club is Torres.
Openly admitting his own disappointments in how he's played as a Chelsea player to French magazine So Foot (h/t Daily Mirror's Neil McLeman), the Spanish striker insists he still wishes to impress Mourinho next season:
I understood nothing of what had happened. I started to get to know the bench. I reassured myself by saying things would soon change. [Chelsea manager Andre] Villas-Boas arrived, then [Roberto] Di Matteo but it was always the same: one day I played, the next not. When you play, you do not ask yourself how it feels to be on the bench. You have to live it to understand how difficult it is to be there without being there.
I am going to continue to work to make him change his opinion. Mourinho his confidence between Samuel, Demba [Ba] and me but for him that is not enough. Clearly his aim is to sign another attacker for next season. There is not a lot to analyse. It is not possible to read it another way: he is not completely satisfied with our performances and that is all. All that is left for us to do is to prove that we can be the striker he is looking for.
Torres scored just five goals in 28 Premier League appearances this season and failed to answer Chelsea's call for an attacker capable of leading the team in the race for the title.
However, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque still sees value in the forward and has included Torres in his World Cup plans, which the Daily Mirror's Ed Malyon supposes could still be a success:
One who may not be around to impress Mourinho, however, is Ba, who could be on his way to Besiktas after the London Evening Standard's Simon Johnson revealed the Turkish outfit have opened talks to sign the Stamford Bridge misfit.
In Johnson's report, board member Deniz Atalay is quoted as saying, “We have made an enquiry for Ba, however Chelsea have not decided whether they want to keep hold of him.”
Jose Callejon is mentioned as a possible recruit for Mourinho, having spent part of his career as a bit-part player at Real Madrid under the Portuguese.
Having found a more prominent playing role since moving to Napoli last summer, the Spanish winger is once again courting the interest of his former boss.