An outpour of relief was felt as soon as Torres grabbed his first goal in 732 minutes at the waterlogged Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but as the expectation for Torres to kick start his goal scoring form rises, so does the speculation of Didier Drogba’s future at Chelsea.
Since the arrival of his Spanish counterpart, the Ivorian has been linked with summer moves away from Chelsea, largely because of the impression he has left on the pitch in recent months and poor form. But the centre forward has roared back into the starting line up since the European exit against Man United, and recent performances showed why the Chelsea faithful still wants him to stay next season.
Reports are circulating Drogba is seeking talks with the club to determine his future; it is hard to believe these talks are needed to begin with. Drogba has been the main man at the Bridge for the last six seasons, which was possibly undermined when Torres was signed. But despite the need to refresh the current squad and deadwood to be offloaded, it is vital for Drogba to stay in the near future.
At 33 years of age, it would be great economics for the club to sell the striker for around 20 million, yet Drogba still has more to offer in terms of experience and ability which would be difficult to replace. There is still time for both Drogba and Torres to develop an understanding and create that fantasy of a lethal partnership, but the unlikelihood is far stronger especially as Drogba is the best lone striker in the world. Even in a season where not only has malaria affected his performances, but the overall team displays have been indifferent and complacent, 11 goals and assists have been registered this season.
His experience is vital to the upcoming youngsters trickling there way through the ranks, particularly with Daniel Sturridge showing great promise with his spell at Bolton. More so is the tactical importance and edge the striker provides in the standard 433 formation. If his power, strength and goal scoring ability does not provide enough evidence already for his need to stay, then the change in strategies the former Marseille forward offers is adequate reason.
Positioned at the pinnacle of the three, he holds up the play and brings a collection of players forward, sometimes by the scruff of the neck. Allowing Drogba to go would require surgical transformation applied to the Chelsea strategy and formation. A 433 cannot be persisted without Drogba, he is too good to be replaced as the leading lone striker, and he is a big game player.
As a result of Ancelotti’s self confessed mistake in starting Torres for the second leg against United, Didier was challenged with spearheading the Chelsea attacks which he’s relished with barnstorming displays against West Brom, Birmingham and West Ham, picking off each defence with ease and confidence. On this form he needs to be at Chelsea next season, to fight on all fronts and have a big part in Chelsea’s success. He still has plenty of football remaining for Chelsea, a late bloomer where his age doesn’t affect his bullish match style; we need Drogba like flowers need sunlight. If Chelsea is to grow from this season then Drogba is required to stem the new way forward.