Football

Drogba inclusion imperative for Chelsea

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Andre Villas-Boas and Didier Drogba put on a public display of unity yesterday evening, as the latter claimed he had no intention of undermining the Chelsea manager.

On Saturday afternoon during the half-time interval of Chelsea's eventual 1-1 draw with Birmingham, Drogba appeared to give his team-mates a pep-talk shortly before they remerged after the break.

This, it was said, was a clear sign that Villas-Boas had lost the dressing room and that Drogba was one of a number of senior players leading the revolt against the inexperienced Portuguese.

Naturally, both Villas-Boas and Drogba have refuted any suggestions of disharmony between them, and each claims to retain the unequivocal support of the other in pursuit of the same goals.

Despite overseeing a season where the failure to qualify for next season's Champions League would seem a distinct possibility, Villas-Boas is confident that he will remain at Stamford Bridge for the duration of his contract at least.

However, the future of Drogba in west London is far from certain, with the veteran striker out of contract at the end of the season.

The soon to be 34-year-old maintains he wants to stay with the club he joined from Marseille eight years ago this summer but, according to Nicolas Anelka, Shanghai could be a potential destination for Drogba.

"I hope Drogba will come," said Anelka, who joined Shanghai Shenua from Chelsea in January.

"I'm in contact with him very often and if all goes well, we could see him in Shanghai."

Although Villas-Boas and Drogba appear to maintain good relations, the latter could well fall victim to the axe of the former as he looks to revitalise an ageing Chelsea squad, at the behest of Roman Abramovich.

It is, then, imperative that Villas-Boas utilises Drogba to his full capacity for the remainder of the season, with the Ivorian's time at Chelsea potentially entering into its latter stages.

Despite being in the twilight of his career, Drogba can still claim to be the finest striker on Chelsea's books, even after the £50 million acquisition of Fernando Torres last year.

Villas-Boas appears to be finally running out of patience with Torres; something highlighted by the fact the Spaniard was forced to make way for Drogba after only 45 minutes against Birmingham.

It is not easy to comprehend the possibility that Torres will be at Chelsea next season and not Drogba but, as it stands, that would appear to be the most likely outcome.

However, Drogba's goals are also likely to be the ones that fire Chelsea into the Champions League next term - far from a straightforward task - and that could prove be a fitting farewell of sorts.

The 33-year-old remains a player of supreme quality and, as the business end of the season approaches, it is important Villas-Boas makes the most of what Drogba has to offer before it is too late.

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Topics:
Didier Drogba
Football
Chelsea
Premier League

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