Ivory Coast manager Sabri Lamouchi has sent out a warning to former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba saying that the 36-year-old should not take his first-team spot in the team as a guarantee. Drogba is expected to be a starter at the World Cup 2014 for the Ivory Coast team, who start the campaign with a match against Japan. After years of underachievement even with the likes of Drogba leading the line, it looks like Lamouchi is ready to adopt a different approach. Further, at 36 years of age, Drogba is past the peak of his career.
This coupled with a lack of a club in the summer is likely to put Drogba as the second choice striker in the team. Unlike in previous years, Ivory Coast have a wealth of strikers capable of replacing Drogba. Swansea frontman Wilfried Bony is one of them. Bony comes under the World Cup on the back of an impressive season with Swansea in which he scored more than 20 goals. In contrast, Drogba has struggled to live up to his expectations at Galatasaray. He has left the Turkish club after his contract came to an end. Lamouchi says that reputation alone will not be enough for Drogba to get a first-team spot and that he has to show he is worthy of it.
“There is no favouritism here. Before me, nobody had dared put Didier or Kolo (Toure) on the bench. I did it against Tunisia and we won 3-0. It was not to assert my power, but just to show that at certain moments, status is not enough. Some said that I was brave, others that I was crazy. This is certainly proof that I am under no pressure to pick certain names. I don’t want to treat my players like that,” said the Ivory Coast boss.
Former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has said that manager José Mourinho should reconsider his decision to sell Romelu Lukaku in the summer. It is widely believed that Mourinho has made the decision to fill the Belgian international in order to raise money to bring in Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid. The striker is expected to cost in the region of £ 35 million and due to the FFP regulations, Chelsea will not be able to spend that kind of money on one single player.
Lukaku, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at West Brom and Everton, has reportedly fell out with Mourinho and will be sold in order to accommodate the new striker. However, the Belgian international has impressed heavily during this period by scoring 15 and 17 goals in the league. His physical stature is almost similar to that of Didier Drogba, who was a key part of Chelsea success in the last decade. Even after two years, the club still play the kind of football that suits Drogba. Wilkins reckons that Lukaku can become the new Drogba with proper guidance.
In the past, the 21-year-old has tried to avoid comparisons with Drogba by saying that he is a different kind of player to the Ivory Coast international.
“He has to come back to Chelsea in my opinion. This young man is the closest thing you’ll see to the ‘Drog’ at such a young age. The 21-year-old’s success at Everton also presents a difficulty for boss Roberto Martinez as it appears the Toffees will struggle to land the striker again either on loan or permanently. Lukaku scored 16 goals at Everton in the Premier League so [his departure] is a massive problem for Roberto Martinez, as it was for West Brom,” said Wilkins, who is now a pundit.