Didier Drogba's Return Will Rejuvenate Chelsea's Pursuit of Trophies

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2014


Didier Drogba has returned to Chelsea. The Blues announced on the club's website on Friday the Ivorian has signed a one-year contract.

We can debate the wisdom in him returning to Stamford Bridge two years after scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final, but, for now, the feel-good factor alone is the sort of impetus every club craves at this stage of the year.

Chelsea have already added Diego Costa to their attacking options this summer, and now, as they welcome Drogba home, the Blues suddenly have a deadly look about them.

West London is riding the crest of a wave, and the start of the new season cannot come quick enough.

Jose Mourinho has never been one to settle for second best, and Drogba's capture reminds us 2014-15 is going to be considerably different from the past campaign when the Blues failed to lift any silverware of note.

Mourinho explained to ChelseaFC.com:

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.

It's Drogba's presence alone that is significant for this Chelsea team.

There was an element of doom and gloom last season when it came to strikers, with Mourinho himself lamenting a lack of goals at vital times in the year as Chelsea finished third in the Premier League and reached the Champions League semi-final.

Now they have a man in the dressing room who has done it all for the club, and for those around him, it will be impossible to escape that influence.

Mourinho understands the Chelsea ethos, and in Drogba, he has a player who personifies it.

Indeed, reflecting on Chelsea's preseason, the past fortnight has shown the dramatic changes that have taken place in the year since Mourinho himself returned.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - APRIL 09:  Chelsea Coach Jose Mourinho (R) shares a joke with striker Didier Drogba during Chelsea training and press conference today ahead of tomorrows Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg at the Stadium Mestalla on April 9, 2007
Stu Forster/Getty Images

With Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard moving on from the Blues, just John Terry and Petr Cech remain from Mourinho's old regime that brought unprecedented silverware.

Times change, players move on, but what must remain is a culture that breeds success.

Cole and Lampard's departures were inevitable given the direction this Chelsea team is headed, although their absence had left a void needing to be filled.

Drogba fills it.

Defence and midfield haven't been the problem. It's up front where Mourinho has been given the biggest headache, his team unable to penetrate at times.

Being realistic, Drogba isn't going to start many games in his second spell as a Chelsea player. We know his powers have waned since he last donned the club's colours, and besides, they have better players to consider as first choice now.

As an impact player, his quality cannot be denied, however.

Appearing from the bench, he is going to prove a considerable weapon that Mourinho will relish unleashing on opponents next season. Drogba should help the manager rediscover that ruthless will to win that has seen him so celebrated throughout his managerial career.

From using Branislav Ivanovic as a makeshift striker to chase games in preseason, it will be Drogba punishing defences, causing unrest, playing the role of the grim reaper.

The big concern remains that, for a player who has meant so much to Chelsea down the years and scored so many match-winning goals, being reduced to that cameo role may appear somewhat undignified.

He deserves better.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Going out at the top, scoring the goal that gave the club its greatest night in history, was the fairytale. That's how it should have ended.

Drogba's return has ripped up that script, with the final act waiting to be written in earnest.

The hope is it will contain more moments to be celebrated, rejuvenating the club's pursuit to become the Premier League's finest once more.

That it will do, but how extended Drogba's cameo will prove to be, only time will tell.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes


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