Unless you happened to pick him up randomly in the latter stages of a Football Manager (then Championship Manager) game, chances are Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed he knew about Chelsea striker Didier Drogba’s talent long before the rest of us,
“We were interested in him when he played in the French Second Division with Le Mans, before he went to Guingamp,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.
“We went to watch him when he played in Le Mans a couple of times. But it did not happen at the time.”
“He (Drogba) has done extremely well because he is a player who has come out very late and that means his motivation had been tested before and he kept going in the lower leagues.
“That is a good education because when you come up there [the top league], you do not give up any more and you know that to be in there is a change you have to enjoy and that you have to give everything because he knows what it is like to be down there.”
We first heard of him when he started scoring goals for fun at Guingamp, mainly from reading various obscure football magazines, and Wenger is right to praise Drogba as a late bloomer. He is the personification of the cliche that new players need time to settle in the Premiership, going against those who want to write off a new signing and move onto the next Big Name. He’s also the living proof that not all players must demonstrate the talent to be a world superstar by the age of 21 or else they never will be.
So take heart, those supporters who currently have some seemingly-utter-toss player at their club – in a few years he could be up a PFA award. Although he’ll probably still be toss.