As time passes, it becomes necessary to allow even their most decorated of players to depart—even if their form has yet to abandon them—for the benefit of the squad’s future.
Now in a period of transition led by former FC Porto treble winner Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea must not only maintain the success expected of them but let go of some of the players that changed the culture.
It is time to let Drogba go.
In the days since becoming the most expensive Premier League transfer to date, Fernando Torres has shown himself unable to adapt to playing upfront as part of a two striker tandem.
Last season, the Spaniard’s struggle to combine with the Didier Drogba upfront forced former boss Carlo Ancelotti to make difficult squad decisions—often leaving Torres on the bench—to the dismay of Abramovich.
But now 10 months removed from his arrival and under the direction of new boss Andre Villas-Boas, “El Nino” has begun to show glimpses of the world beater he once was during his Liverpool heyday.
The next step would be to instill full confidence in Torres by allowing Drogba to leave.
Once among the oldest squads in the Premier League, Chelsea has made a conscious effort in the transfer market over recent years to add talented youth to an aging squad.
Didier Drogba now finds himself surrounded by supremely talented and much younger athletes such as Fernando Torres (27), Daniel Sturridge (22), and Romelu Lukaku (18)—often touted as the “New Drogba”—who as a whole represent a substantial financial investment in the vicinity of £70 million.
While veteran players can prove invaluable in terms of leadership within an increasingly young squad, Drogba—who remains a world class talent—simply cannot be expected to be content with being regulated to the bench for the sake of the development of the youths.
With Fernando Torres slowly returning to the form and the desperate need for the Blues to instill their full confidence in the player who has struggled for a variety of reasons to date, it may prove impossible to keep both players happy in terms of playing time.
While there is much argument to whether which striker would prove most effective spearheading Villas-Boas 4-3-3 attack, the fact remains that Torres is six years younger than Drogba and represents a substantial investment that Chelsea could only justify in performance.
But beyond the financial ramifications associated with Torres, the play of Drogba becomes ever more important as the Ivorian’s success does more than to drive the aspirations of his side but encourage peace itself.
Playing a pivotal role in bringing about peace to his home countrywhere his pleas for a cease fire after five years of civil war were answered, the striker became a hero for reasons much greater than his accomplishments on the pitch.
As a living symbol of peace it becomes ever more critical that he play as often as possible while his world class ability and body remain.
In lieu of the restrictions of Financial Fair Play (FFP) coming into effect and a number of incredibly lofty acquisitions—most notably those of Fernando Torres (£50M), David Luiz (£25M), Juan Mata (£23.5M)—the management over at Stamford Bridge find themselves in an unenviable position.
Furthered by the progress of the talented youthful additions who have been added to the squad over the last couple years, it is now certain that a number of the older players will find themselves playing elsewhere come the January transfer window, or at the end of the season
Noting the injuries that have plagued both the form and value of Michael Essien, Didier Drogba is far and away the Blues most valuable asset that can be considered surplus to requirements.