It’s been less than 4 days since Drogba scored the two most important goals in Chelsea’s history which won them their first ever Champions League title, now the club and the striker have confirmed that the striker won’t be signing a new contract and will leave in the summer.
Actually, the news didn’t come as a surprise to many as it was quite rumoured since January that the striker won’t be signing a new deal at the club and will be moving on in the summer. In fact it’s the perfect time for the Ivorian to call it and end to his Stamford Bridge career as he will be leaving the club on a high note after guiding them to their first ever European success.
Now, it’s time for Chelsea to move forward and begin to search for the player who will fill in Drogba’s shoes at the club.It would be very difficult for the club to find some one like Drogba – who has done a lot for the Blues both on and off the field – but they will have to do their best to find an ideal replacement. Here, we look at the ten players who could replace the Ivorian at the club.
10. Papiss Cisse/Demba Ba (Newcastle United)
They both were unheard of in England before they joined Newcastle United and now they both are very well known throughout the world. They both have been a revelation for Newcastle this season helping them finish 5th in the league above Chelsea and securing a Europa League spot for the next season. Demba Ba has scored 16 goals this season, while Cisse has 13 to his name and both would perfectly fit in the Chelsea squad of superstars. But the move down to South looks unlikely this season as Alan Pardew would be very reluctant to let any one of them leave this summer, especially after qualifying for Europe.
9. Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen)
At only 21 years old, Andre Schurrle is a future star of German football. Despite his age he already has 12 international caps, notching up an impressive five goals in the process, and is expected to be Lukas Podolski’s understudy in Poland and Ukraine this summer. Chelsea are known to be interested, but he has only signed for Bayer Leverkusen in 2011, so it’s unlikely the German side would let him go unless the Blues pay above the odds.
8. Luuk De Jong (FC Twente)
With 43 goals in 62 games for FC Twente, Luuk de Jong is one of the most prolific young strikers in European football. By the time he finished his 23rd league game for the Dutch side this year he had averaged a goal per game, including goals with both feet and his head, leading him to be linked with a series of big European sides like Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Inter Milan etc to name a few. De Jong does come from one of the weaker European Leagues however, so it would be risky to put too much faith in him from Chelsea’s perspective, but at the same time players coming from the Dutch league like Robin van Persie, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Dirk Kuyt have flourished in the Premier League.
7. Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)
The Argentine is not as prolific in front of goal as his team-mate Edinson Cavani, but arguably more spectacular. Lavezzi is one of the jewels in Napoli’s crown. The Agrentine has been a success story for Napoli since join the newly crowned Copa Italia winners. Known for flourishing in a strike partnership, Lavezzi could be a brilliant foil to Torres. There have also been rumours about a fall out with current club president and the club have confirmed that the player may leave him if his buy-out clause of €31m is met.
6. Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
He has fallen down in the pecking order at Real Madrid just because Karim Benzema is playing so well. The Argentine is a real goal scoring threat and at just 24-years he is still has plenty of time to develop into one of the best strikers in the world. He has all the skill you want in a striker and has loads of experience at the highest level considering his age. He has already scored 103 goals in 220 matches for the La Liga champions during his six years at the club. The former River Plate striker’s future at the Bernabeau is in doubt. PSG and Chelsea rumoured to be the possible destination if he decides to leave the club.
5. Hulk (FC Porto)
He has been linked with a move to Chelsea for years now but nothing ever has materialized. This season again with Andre Villas-Boas coming in rumours were high but they went off when the transfer window closed but now again the rumours have started again and some papers also go on to state that the two clubs have agreed a fee and the Blues are in advanced talks with the player. Whether its true or not remains to be seen. Speaking about the player, the Brazilian is known for his physical presence and goals from the wing, but after failing to shine against English clubs in the past, the Blues may have concerns over his suitability to the English game.
4. Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)
The 27-year-old target man has been Athletic Bilbao’s star this season with 29 goals in all competitions. The 6ft 5in striker has been key in Bilbao’s success in the Europa League this season, which saw they reach the final of the tournament only to be beaten by Atletico Madrid. On their way to final they defeated Manchester United both at home and away and Llorente scored important goals in both the legs. The Bilbao youth academy player has also attracted interest from the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham, so if Chelsea want to sign him they will face some stiff competition and will have to sign him before the Euros or else could risk being priced out.
3. Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
The war for Edinson Cavani’s signature rages on, with Chelsea understandably desperate to grab him after his performances against them in the Champions League. A deal to bring both the Uruguayan and strike-partner Lavezzi together would be ideal, but realistically it would be a difficult move to orchestrate for any club. City are thought to be leading the race for Cavani currently as they are ready offer him huge wages, so Chelsea will need to pull out the stops to ensure that the man who has scored 33 goals for Napoli this season doesn’t end up at the Etihad.
2. Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
If the Colombian striker was a hit at Porto then he has been super-hit at Atletico Madrid this season. The striker who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer before signing the Red and White side of Madrid, has scored 36 goals this season for the Los Colchoneros and is only behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal scoring list. The former River Plate striker has won the Europa League twice in two season and has scored in both the finals. According to reports in England, he is Chelsea’s number one target to replace Drogba but the European champions will have to pay as much as £50m to acquire his services who still has four years left on his contract.
1. Fernando Torres/Romelu Lukaku/Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)
Torres is a natural successor to Didier Drogba that Chelsea have got. The £50m striker hasn’t yet justified his price tag and maybe this could be the perfect opportunity for him to rise to occasion and come out from the shadows of Drogba. The Ivorian himself has tipped Torres to be the future and it could be true as we all know that the Spaniard has immense of talent and potential in him to become the next Chelsea legend. The Blues already have young talented strikers in their squad in Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge. The European champions with the help of a good coach could develop the duo while Torres becomes the main man at the club to fill in the big shoes of Didier Drogba.