There is no denying it now! The Montreal Impact have their sights set on Didier Drogba. Joey Saputo confirmed in a recent interview with Noel Butler on TSN 690 (Oranges at Half Time) to address the rumors of Didier Drogba. Although there has been no official word one way or the other, the lastest rumor has the Impact giving up a young player and $50,000.00 to Chicago to finalize the transaction. Officially however, the waiting game continues.
Here is what we know, the Montreal Impact WANT Didier Drogba! During the interview, Saputo made it abundantly clear that he felt Drogba would be a perfect fit for the club and the city. He has personally spoken to Drogba, which just goes to show just how badly he wants this to happen. The bad news is, the Chicago Fire are also keen to sign the Ivory Coast legend. Hopefully, for Impact fans if Drogba does come to MLS it will be in Impact colours! For Impact fans the wait is painful! During the January transfer window, ownership made a push to sign Alberto Gilardino, but he chose China. Then an attempt was made to bring in former TFC striker Gilberto but that didn't work out either. With all due respect to the two previously mentioned strikers, if the Impact are able to swing a deal for the former Chelsea hit man, the effects will be massive both on and off the field.
Just who is Didier Drogba?
For those of you who don't know, he is a champion! He is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Ivory Coast National Team scoring 65 goals in 104 appearances. At the club level he has amassed 178 goals in his career! He has won the Premiere League & FA Cup four times each & League Cup three times with Chelsea. He was also on the winning side with Chelsea twice for the FA Community Shield. He was man of the match UEFA Champions League back in 2012 when Chelsea won. He has so many accolades to his name it would take me way too much time to list them all! The important thing to know is that even though he 37 years of age he still has game and can help the Impact in more ways than one. Last season, although he only played 14 games with Chelsea he still managed to score seven times.
On the field
He is an internationally known world class striker so automatically he will garner attention whenever he is on the field. Just like when Piatti came in, and found chemistry with Marco Di Vaio, I believe that Piatti, Romero, Duka and the rest of the attacking core of players on the team would benefit greatly from his presence! He will undoubtedly draw multiple defenders at a time leaving spaces for others to exploit. At the moment, there is a real lack of consistency from Impact attackers so to have someone of Drogba's caliber who can finish chances the way Di Vaio used to would be a massive upgrade. He is very strong in the air, and that is a something that really lacks on this current squad. None of the clubs' current strikers are very good in the air. Imagine Donadel being able to have Drogba challenging for balls in the air on his set piece deliveries or on Oyongo's long throw in's. He is also very good at taking set-pieces, again something that Impact lack right now. Donadel is usually pretty accurate with his crossing abilities, but having a player like Drogba that can put it directly in the back of the net, will give the Impact something they've never really had.
Just like when Di Vaio was here, the learning experiences he can pass along to the younger players is huge! He would be able to provide leadership and guidance to youngsters Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Romario Williams.
Off The Field
It is no secret that the Impact have been on a slow decline at the gates and attendance figures have been dropping steadily. Die hard fans will always show their loyalty to the team and be there week in week out, but having a player of Drogba's stature could finally help the Impact draw more casual fans. For the casual fan, many want to see a world class star, and although those who are familiar with the game will know that Ciman, and Piatti are extremely talented those less convinced may come out in greater numbers to see Drogba. I for one don't agree with bringing in a 'name' for the sake of it, but let's be honest Drogba is more than a name! I am positive that his signature would bring more fans than we witnessed during Di Vaio & Nesta's stay. Unfortunately, I could not find and numbers to support this, but I do believe that he would sell more jerseys as well. It is obvious that the clubs recent CCL success has helped bring more exposure to the organization, which should help attract more players in the future.
I have never been in favor of trying to sign anyone just because of their nationality or language but, in a French speaking city, I am sure it would be a big deal for the club to add a French speaking star to their roster. If this plays out in the Impact's favor, it will be important for the club to take advantage of his stardom. They can't afford to not have him become a face of the franchise, even though he may only be here for a year or two. They should no longer market games based on who is coming on the visitor's lineup. They must make a point of selling Drogba to the public, especially the casual fan.
In the mean time....tick tock, tick tock...let's hope he trades Chelsea blue for Impact blue!