Didier Drogba could have had a different career path if Southampton had been successful with their bid to sign the Ivorian football legend. It was revealed that the Saints tried to sign Didier Drogba while he was with Guingamp in the French league. According to The Athletic, Southampton wanted to sign Didier Drogba and FlorentMalouda while the two players were on the payroll of Guingamp. The two players would go on to play for Chelsea in the Premier League.
The publication from The Athletic revealed that Southampton’s former owner Rupert Lowe had a deal lined up for both Didier Drogba and FlorentMalouda but the Saints were not able to get the deal across the line. Didier Drogba was 25 at the time, while FlorentMalouda was 23 at the time of the interest from Southampton. Didier Drogba and FlorentMalouda were important players in the Guingamp team that was punching above its weight in the French top flight at that time.
The Saints wanted to sign the two players in 2003 shortly after they qualified for the UEFA Cup by finishing runners-up to Arsenal in the FA Cup.Arsenal won the FA Cup title at the end of the 2002/03 season by beating Southampton in the final. The Gunners defeated their South Coast opponents 1-0 with the lone goal scored by Robert Pires. Legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was in charge of the Gunners during that time.
Didier Drogba and FlorentMalouda didn’t leave Guingamp for Southampton in 2003 but they will later taste Premier League football in the colours of Chelsea. The two players won a combined total of 17 trophies for the Blues including the 2011/12 Champions League title at the expense of hosts Bayern Munich in the final. Didier Drogba scored in that final and also scored the winning penalty in the shootout after the two clubs played out a 1-1 draw.