The buzz is Didier Drogba will be joining his Chelsea compatriot Nicholas Anelka in the Chinese Super League this summer for a whopping £270,000 a week. That kind of money for three years will amount to a nice retirement nest egg. Drogba has become an after thought with Roman Abramovich rooting for Fernando Torres to succeed so he can justify spending an £50m giveaway, the largest in sporting history. Considering all of this would Drogba be willing to consider a switch to Chelsea’s northeastern rivals if an offer was forthcoming?
Drogba is a stately 33 years of age as critics will undoubtedly point out. But Arsene Wenger has been willing to jettison the U21 argument for a while now, inducting Sol Campbell, Jens Lehmann, Thierry Henry, and Mikel Arteta, to try and give the Gunners an experienced glow. The Cote D’Ivoirian from most accounts is still hungry and capable of many more goals. Just two years ago, he topped the league in goalscoring as he led Chelsea to the title. He has also single handedly destroyed Arsenal having scored 13 goals in their last 13 encounters.
Wenger has said of Drogba, “If you look at the statistics, defending against Drogba is one of the keys – if not the biggest key – of the game.” That was in December 2010, before Arsenal managed to reverse a losing streak.
The most visible assets, a physical player, excellent with his back to goal, great aerial ability (even Cesc Fabergas seems to have found his heading touch at Barca), and a lethal finish who can dominate in the box. And he is an excellent set piece taker. All in all it has accounted for 150 goals in 323 matches for Chelsea putting him level with club greats Peter Osgood and Roy Bentley.
Arsenal will never even come close to matching the £270,000 per week that Shanghai Shenhua have reportedly offered to Drogba. But it can give him the allure of Premiership and Championship (the jury is out this season) football that the relative anonymity of the Chinese League can never give him. And the combination of RVP and Gervinho with the passing fluidity of the midfield (with Swansea in mind of course) can provide fertile ground for more goals which Drogba loves to score (that tantrum thrown in the Wigan match after Frank Lampard was chosen to take the PK was priceless).