One of the greatest strikers in the history of the Premier League, Didier Drogba, is looking increasingly likely to leave Chelsea this summer. After 7 years of amazing goals and sullen sulks, it seems Drogba has been replaced at the top of Stamford Bridge’s food chain by new £50million-man Fernando Torres.
A stalwart of the club for many years, and a much praised and feared presence in Chelsea’s team, Drogba is far from finished as a professional footballer, and if he does move on, here’s why he shouldn’t leave the Premier League, he needn’t even move house, he should up-sticks to North London and sign for Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur.
Attacking Options As They Stand…
With Robbie Keane on loan at West Ham, Spurs have three recognised first-team strikers: Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who, between them, have contributed a measly 8 league goals. While Gareth Bale and Rafa Van der Vaart have performed admirably in making up for the strikers’ profligacy, with 7 and 10 league goals respectively, Spurs would be performing better with reliable strikers.
Pavlyuchenko has done well considering his limited pitch time and Crouch has been scoring for fun in the Champions League, but the addition of Drogba would not only add some competition for places, but also a genuine target man who is as comfortable scrapping with a bruising centre-back for headers as he is scoring goals from just about everywhere.
Drogba remains an athletic player who looks far from off the pace and despite a relatively indifferent season, it mustn’t be forgotten that less than a year ago, the Ivorian finished the 2009/10 season with a superb return of 37 goals from 44 games.
The prospect of Drogba up-front, being provided opportunities by the likes of Bale, Lennon, Modric and Van der Vaart is a very tempting one, and the chances created by such gifted players would allow Drogba to re-establish himself as one of the top flight’s greatest.
Experience To Die For…
At 33 (come the summer), Drogba will have been playing in the Premier League for 7 years; he has won 3 Titles, 3 FA Cups and 2 League Cups. He knows how to win and what it takes to win. Nobody else in the Spurs squad comes close to that trophy haul, and the experience of getting to finals, winning big games and downright success would be an example for the rest of the squad.
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The Ivorian is a big-game player, who often turns it on against the hardest opposition, which is the kind of trait that would help Tottenham move up a gear to become genuine title contenders. Arsene Wenger is one of many respected observers who realises Drogba’s effect in top games,
“Drogba has always been very efficient against us. He is a big game player. Recently when Chelsea were in trouble against Tottenham, who turned up? It was Drogba again.”
Even with all his experience, Drogba has a reputation as an occasional sulk, who throws his toys out of the pram when things don’t go his way, but this negative side of the Ivorian forward would be mitigated by his new manager. Harry Redknapp is a good motivator and the odd sulk that Drogba sometimes lapses into would be all in a day’s work for ‘Appy ‘Arry, who has created, overall, an excellent team environment at White Hart Lane (although Alan Hutton may disagree!)
Squad Benefits Would Be ‘Beckhamesque’…
Not only would the signing of Drogba benefit the current first-team squad as a whole, there would be less obvious but potentially equally fruitful benefits elsewhere. Redknapp is a believer in the benefits of signing experienced, senior players in order to positively influence the younger squad members.
While Spurs current strikers are all 28 or over, there is a crop of younger players on the fringes of the first team who would learn a great deal on how to prepare themselves for top flight football, how to look after yourself physically and innumerable forward’s techniques just from training with a player of Drogba’s calibre.
Were the likes of Jonathan Obika, Ryan Mason and Harry Kane to return to Tottenham from their loan spells in the summer to find Didier Drogba training at Spurs’ Chigwell base, the youngsters would be able to gain invaluable insight and knowledge from a player who has been truly world-class.
In summary, Spurs should pull out all the stops to capture Drogba’s signature, it may be difficult with his high wages and Chelsea’s probable reluctance to sell to a rival, but Daniel Levy has pulled off some shrewd transfer business in the past and the opportunity to have a player of the Ivorian’s class, experience and goal-scoring talent is too good to let pass without a fight.
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