Is Chelsea legend Drogba poised to be replaced by £20m Arsenal target?

Didier Drogba Ivory Coast

Didier Drogba has long been considered as the poster boy of Ivorian football, but could he be replaced in Brazil?

The Ivory Coast have long been tipped to impress on the world stage as Africa's best side, but tough groups in 2006 and 2010 have largely diminished their impact, failing to get into the knockout stages of the World Cup on both occasions.

This year, Sabri Lamouchi's side are faced by Colombia, Greece and Japan in a more modest group, but it's frustrating for the Elephants because most of their star players are now ageing, such as Didier Zokora as well as Kolo and Yaya Toure.

Another player who fits in that category is striker Drogba, who at 36 is well past his prime; a prime that saw him dominate defences with Chelsea over a stunning eight-year association with the Blues, where he scored over 150 goals in just 341 games, earning hero status at Stamford Bridge in the process.

Away from the club scene though – which has since taking him to China with Shanghai Shenhua and Turkey with Galatasaray – Drogba is far more than a hero to Ivorians. Drogba offers the entire nation hope both on and off the field, having played a big part in bringing peace to the country after a civil war tore the country apart.

Yet his time is coming to an end, and whilst it's unlikely that Swansea's Wilfried Bony could replace his effect on the country from a political standpoint, there is more than enough hope that the 25-year-old is poised to be an ample replacement on the pitch.

The former Vitesse Arnhem man enjoyed a superb debut season in the Premier League, hitting 16 goals for the Swans and almost single handedly keeping them afloat in the process. Yet now, Lamouchi has a decision to make – to go with an ageing Drogba, whose best days are clearly behind him, or usher in the new era with Bony.

Dropping Drogba would be a brave decision on Lamouchi's part considering the deity-like status the striker has with Ivorians, and it's almost assured that the former Chelsea star will start against Japan this weekend – but as the tournament goes on, we may begin to see Drogba phased out for Bony as his last hurrah draws closer.

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