Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay was quoted on Wednesday morning predicting that Didier Drogba won’t be leaving the club this summer, however odds of 5/6 are still available on Ladbrokes for the long-serving striker to stay put.
The Ivory Coast international was brought to Stamford Bridge by Jose Mourinho in 2004 and has wasted no time establishing himself as a Blues legend, scoring 144 goals for the club and helping to fire them to three Premier League titles.
His spell as a guaranteed starter was halted in January though when Fernando Torres was signed to freshen up Chelsea’s attacking options, and given that Carlo Ancelotti’s efforts to play both together fell flat, competition is expected to be intense.
The belief that owner Roman Abramovich will want to persevere with the Spanish forward, who he paid £50 million to take from Liverpool, has prompted speculation that Drogba will exit, but Gourlay has suggested that the rumours are lacking in substance.
He said: “Didier is very much a mainstay of the Chelsea team so yes, Didier will be here with us in a few weeks’ time.” If you remain adamant that the 33-year-old will depart, odds of 5/6 are offered on him making a fresh start away from west London.
Gourlay has also confirmed that the board are expecting the recently dethroned champions to not only mount a stronger title challenge next season but also compete on all fronts under their new manager, who given odds of 1/4 looks set to be Guus Hiddink.
The Blues are 5/2 second favourites to top the Premier League for the fourth time in eight years in 2011-12, while they are fourth in the running at 7/1 to claim that elusive Champions League trophy at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena next May.