Didier Drogba recently announced that he will still be a Chelsea player next season, but on the evidence of his abject display against Aston Villa today Jose Mourinho must avoid offering the Blues’ legend a new contract.
The 36-year-old had the look of a worn-out striker rapidly approaching the end of his career, rather than the second-choice striker of the Premier League title favourites.
Subbed off after just 63 minutes following a worryingly lacklustre performance, Chelsea fans will have been left saddened watching the game pass their former idol by at Villa Park. The powerful forward who once terrorised defences for fun is long gone.
Drogba must consider retirement
Left behind is the stocky frame of a former Premier League great who must know, deep down, that the time has come for him to retire.
Mourinho’s decision to bring Drogba back to Stamford Bridge was one based entirely on sentiment - and to an extent it has worked.
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New contract would be madness
The Ivory Coast international has scored six goals in 27 appearances - including important strikes against Manchester United and Tottenham - while his presence around the dressing room has no doubt proved invaluable, particularly after the departure of fellow club legend Frank Lampard last summer.
But to offer him another year would be lunacy on behalf of Mourinho and Chelsea.
Time to look to the younger players
It is finally time for Mourinho to look to his youth ranks for the club’s new back-up striker - it’s not as if he’s short of options. Patrick Bamford, Lucas Piazon and Dominic Solanke are all very exciting prospects.
And then of course there’s the more experienced Loic Remy, a more-than-worthy replacement for those matches when Diego Costa is either injured or suspended.
Drogba is - and always will be - a true Chelsea legend. But the time has come for the veteran striker to wave goodbye, for the second time, to Stamford Bridge.