The omission of Didier Drogba from the Chelsea squad for their FA Cup game at Southend on Wednesday seemed to send a big message. The Ivory Coast striker had put in an abject performance for the team at Manchester United on Sunday and had looked uninterested and as if he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be there.
Many Chelsea fans feel that Drogba hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t produced the goods since his ridiculous sending off in last seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Champions League final. Despite him being, on his day, one of the most fearsome strikers in the world, a fair percentage of the Chelsea faithful wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be too upset to see him leave.
Assistant manager Ray Wilkins has moved to reassure those Chelsea fans who remain fans of Drogba that he is still very much part of the plans at Stamford Bridge.
There have been rumours that Luis Felipe Scolari and the thirty year old striker with just three goals this season have totally fallen out with each other. That is a rumour that Wilkins has strongly denied.
“From what I have seen at training it certainly doesn’t give to the fact they’re at breaking point.”
Wilkins insisted that the decision to play Anelka instead of Drogba was purely tactical and held no further meaning.
“That’s just a selection policy of Filipe, we have a very big squad, we’ve got some exceptional players and Filipe felt that Nicolas was the man to take the field. I haven’t got a clue whether Drogba will play against Stoke at the weekend or not, but he is very much part of Chelsea football club and, if needed, he will pull the shirt on and play to a very high standard.”
After the defeat at Manchester United Scolari had been very critical of some of his players. In relation to Drogba, he hardly hid his anger and disappointment.
“All the players have had their chance. I have given every player at least five or six games to impress. I will give them their chance and I need answers. I have looked at many games with Anelka and at the last few with Didier. I have my opinion and I will put my opinion on the pitch every game. If I have given players only one chance then maybe some of the players will complain that they have only had one opportunity. But when I have given four or five chances then there is no room for questions, it is my decision to play this or that player, and finish.”
Drogba has been linked with a move to Inter Milan ever since his old boss Jose Mourinho took the role of manager at the club. That suggestion is still distinctly possible although everyone will have noticed that this season he has looked a shadow of the player of previous seasons.
Drogba has scored eighty-three goals in all competitions for Chelsea since joining the club in 2004 but has scored just three times in seventeen games in the current campaign.
Another current rumour, which was in yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Daily Star newspaper is that Chelsea will sell Drogba in the summer and replace him by signing Seville’s Luis Fabiano.
Whilst there is no doubting the quality that the twenty-eight year old Fabiano possesses, I would have thought that Chelsea may have learned their lesson about buying overseas stars who are approaching their thirties.
One thought did occur to me whilst I was reading all about these issues. The man who was speaking about DrogbaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s future at Chelsea was Ray Wilkins the assistant manager. It just struck me that maybe the reported problems within the camp and the failings on the pitch have largely come about since Steve Clarke left and Ray Wilkins came in.
I may be being very unfair on Wilkins but his appointment was a strange one since the very start. He has never had a great record as a coach and manager and fails to show any passion even though he is a Chelsea man.
Wilkins is a likeable guy and a decent pundit on the television. Maybe he should never have left the warmth and comfort of the TV studio.
It could just be that Chelsea would be better off without their passionless assistant manager and their talented but deeply flawed striker.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!