Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba has left Olympique de Marseille for Chelsea FC for a reported fee of €36m.
Third new signing
The 26-year-old Ivory Coast international is the third new signing for new Chelsea manager José Mourinho, who has also secured the services of Portugal full-back Paulo Ferreira from his former club FC Porto, and Serbia and Montenegro striker Mateja Kezman from PSV Eindhoven.
Drogba joins for a reported €36m fee and will arrive in London tomorrow. He spent little over a year at Marseille, who paid €6m for him in June 2003, but made a huge impact at the Stade Vélodrome, hitting 18 league goals as well as a further five in the UEFA Champions League and six in the club's march to the UEFA Cup final. These exploits earned him the French Player of the Year award.
Marseille chairman Christophe Bouchet already has his eye on several potential successors to Drogba. "We'll sign at least one striker," he said. "We've been in touch with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto'o, Péguy Luyindula and Jan Koller."
Drogba started his career with Le Mans UC 72, then in the second division, and made his debut in the 1998/99 season. He scored 12 league goals in 64 appearances there before joining EA Guingamp in January 2002. After a slow start - he managed three goals in eleven games in the second half of 2001/02 - he was a revelation the following season as he finished third in the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 17 goals, helping Guingamp to seventh place in the table.