Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is delighted to see Didier Drogba back at the club, but has admitted that he didn’t believe the initial rumours of his return.
Drogba left Chelsea in 2012 after scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances, winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the 2012 Champions League, his winning spot-kick proving the final contribution of his first eight-season spell.
Signing a one-year deal at Stamford Bridge, following stints with China’s Shanghai Shenhua and Turkey’s Galatasaray, Mikel was previously teammates with the 36-year-old from 2006 until his initial departure and believes his veteran presence can compensate for the losses of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.
‘I heard the rumours but I thought there was no way it was going to happen. I thought when he’s gone, he’s gone,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘But then I thought about it a bit more and I realised it could happen because of the connection that the gaffer and Didier have always had.
‘I’m glad to have him back. It’s like his home. He’s fitting in perfectly well again. It’s like he never went away. It’s good for the team because he’s a big player and a big personality.
‘It’s a shame we lost Frank and Ash - two big personalities and two big players – but Didier is back. I think we need a bit of his personality and his physicality in the Premier League, too. He can offer that.
‘He stills gets respect from everybody in the dressing room: the older guys, the younger players, everybody. We are all glad to have him back.’
Reunited with Jose Mourinho for the first time since 2007, Drogba may no longer be the dominant force who once terrorised Premier League defenders but, with his years of experience at the top of the game, he could prove a useful addition behind £32 million Diego Costa and the misfiring Fernando Torres.
How big an impact will Drogba have at Chelsea this season?