After one year in Turkey, would Chelsea legend Drogba be better off at the Bridge?

Ivory Coast icon still thriving in the Turkish Super Lig but Chelsea's current strikeforce is weaker without him

It is a year ago this month since Chelsea legend Didier Drogba left China after a brief stint and signed up for Turkish giants Galatasaray.

In that time he has scored 16 goals in 39 matches as Cimbom claimed last season’s Super Lig title, reached the Champions League quarter-finals and followed that up by beating Juventus to a spot in this season’s last 16.

But a feeling remains that the Ivory Coast icon could, and perhaps should, have returned to Stamford Bridge - or better still, never have left at all.

The 35-year-old is a legend at the West London club, and he left on a high having secured Chelsea’s first ever Champions League trophy with the equalising header and winning spot-kick in the final against Bayern Munich in 2012.

However, the two-time African footballer of the year clearly had so much more to offer, something which has been exemplified by Chelsea’s strikers struggles in his absence.

Before he left the club, Drogba was keeping £50m Spaniard Fernando Torres out of the side, and with good reason.

Since Drogba left, Torres has shown only flashes of form and has managed only 12 Premier League strikes in 52 matches.

Torres lacks Drogba’s brute force, confidence in front of goal and raw passion for the game.

His best years were at Liverpool but since 2010 he has never shown the killer instinct that he displayed in those halcyon days at Anfield.

In addition to the misfiring Spaniard, last January’s Blues signing Demba Ba has failed to establish himself at Stamford Bridge.

The Senegalese forward has only scored three times in 22 Premier League appearances since arriving from Newcastle, and even though he has only started 13 of those games, the fact that he is being overlooked in favour of Torres is in itself a damning assessment of his capabilities.

Another African striking legend, Samuel Eto’o, was added to the Stamford Bridge strikeforce by Jose Mourinho in the summer but he is failing to recreate Drogba’s brilliance.

As many have noted this season, Mourinho discarded the closest thing to Drogba Chelsea still have in the summer – Romelu Lukaku.

The Belgian striker has been sent on loan to Everton where he has excelled so far, outscoring all of Chelsea’s current forwards with nine league goals to his name.

The 20-year-old has gone on record in the past saying that he used to have a poster and replica shirt of the Ivorian powerhouse but Mourinho is clearly not yet ready to trust him with the responsibility of leading the Blues frontline just yet.

Mourinho was reported to be interesting in bringing Drogba back to Chelsea last summer, but the striker remained in Turkey, and is being linked with a move to the MLS this summer.

Despite being 35, Mourinho could yet try to lure him again, and it will be fascinating to see the interaction between the 98-cap international and his old club when he returns with Galatasary in the next round of the Champions League.

Drogba has teamed up well with explosive striker Burak Yilmaz at his current club, and with the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Felipe Melo in the side, the Turks are no small fry.

But the Ivorian’s spiritual home is Chelsea, where he scored 157 goals in 341 games, and it is a shame for him not to remain at the club that adore him so much when he would still be such a key component.

He might not be the long-term answer, but surely he would score more goals than Torres.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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