Since Didier Drogba’s arrival at the Bridge in 2004, Chelsea have had big money failings from striker after striker. Is it bad business or a bad scouting network which has meant these high priced forwards have failed to deliver, or is it the Didier Drogba effect?
There have been whispers around the Chelsea fans and hushed rumours coming out of the training ground that Drogba is not the most welcoming character at the Bridge, especially when it comes to forwards.
Many players relish competition for places but Drogba seems to have an obsession with fuelling his own ego and puts other forwards down in order to achieve a first team place.
Hernan Crespo joined Chelsea in 2003 scoring 10 goals in 19 league games during the 2003-04 season, before the arrival of Drogba. When Jose Mourinho took over and Drogba was brought in Crespo was loaned to AC Milan for the season. He return to Chelsea as competition for Drogba during the 2005-06 season but failed to impress, scoring only 10 goals in 30 matches before being loaned to Inter Milan for 2 years and eventually being sold.
Andriy Shevchenko joined Chelsea in 2006 for a fee of around £30 million. He joined from AC Milan as one of the world’s top strikers and his strike rate promised nothing but success. However, he also failed to settle at Chelsea scoring only 9 times in 48 appearances.
Claudio Pizarro joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Bayern Munich where he had scored 74 goals in 171 games. He was added to the list of Chelsea flops after scoring only twice in 21 matches. He joined Werder Bremen on loan and then on a permanent deal, two years after leaving the bridge he claimed the Bundesliga golden boot.
Nicolas Anelka was next to join, he was signed from Bolton in January 2008. He went on to score 39 goals in 125 games for the club, claiming the Premier Leagues golden boot during the 2008-09 season. He could be considered a relative success, but it is no secret that him and Drogba were close friends off the pitch, a luxury the other forwards have not had.
And now we have Fernando Torres, at one time the most feared striker on the planet, a record breaker at Liverpool and the goal scorer during the Euro 2008 final in which Spain beat Germany 1-0. Since joining Chelsea he has looked a shadow of his former self, not only struggling for goals and appearances but also struggling to fit in at Chelsea amongst what seems from the outside a dressing room full of cliques.
The common denominator in all these forwards failing is Didier Drogba. I refuse to believe all these top quality forwards became bad players overnight.
I am a Drogba fan, what he has done for Chelsea has been nothing short of incredible. He will forever be remembered at the Bridge and has earned legend status in West London. I feel his time is coming to an end and if he opts to leave this summer it will be interesting to see how the likes of Fernando Torres and any new forwards react when his presence has left.
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