Jose Mourinho believes Didier Drogba will eventually return to Chelsea and has hinted it could be as early as the summer.
The Ivorian striker will return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since winning the Champions League with his final kick in a Chelsea shirt against Bayern Munich in 2012.
Drogba will be presented with a special "thank you" gift for his eight successful years in west London before kick-off, but will then try to eliminate them and send his new side, Galatasaray into the quarter-finals.
Many are expecting the 36-year-old to return to Chelsea after his career to take up a role in some capacity be it as a coach or an ambassador. But he inevitable return could come much sooner than many have predicted.
Drogba is out of contract in the summer and the pressures of Financial Fair Play could make the striker the perfect option for Mourinho.
Mourinho has been frustrated by the lack of form from his current crop of strikers and has admitted Drogba could return once his contract ends.
Mourinho said to reporters: : "He is undoubtedly one of the most important players in the history of the club.
"All Chelsea supporters, we agree with that.
"Now is not the time to talk about it but we know Didier is a free agent in the summer.
"I think it has to happen one day that he returns. When, I don't know. As a player, as a coach, as an ambassador, next year, in four, five years, in 10 years, I don't know.
"But when a person represents so much to a club and when a club represents so much to a person, and that's the case, I think he has to be back one day."
With FFP set to restrict spending in the summer, Mourinho may not be able to afford the outlay for Diego Costa of Mario Mandzukic who will likely cost £32m and £25m respectively.
Although Drogba would command a big one-year contract, he would come free and may represent a perfect short term alternative as the club's financial officers prepare the club for the rigours of FFP.
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