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Didier Drogba the answer to Chicago Fire’s goalscoring problems

didier-drogba

It is safe to say Didier Drogba will be playing football somewhere in the coming weeks. Whether he is playing his football in Major League Soccer is still debatable.

The Ivorian is in talks with MLS sides Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact, though other teams are reportedly chasing his signature as well. Along with negotiating with the Fire and Impact, the 37-year-old is still keeping his options open further a field; and this week he was linked with a move to Serie A side Inter as well as an unnamed Qatari team.

There are two sides to signing Drogba if you are the Chicago Fire and on Tuesday the club showed their eagerness to add the ex-Marseille man by offering an improved deal. 

ESPN FC had reported the Fire offered Drogba an 18-month contract worth $2.5 million. That has now been sweetened, though the exact numbers have not been made public. 

Firstly, the positives of a Drogba deal are goals. At least that is what everyone will expect from the Ivorian. 

The Fire have scored the fewest number of goals in the Eastern Conference this term (20) and second fewest in MLS overall. The team currently have the lowest points total in the league and sit dead last in MLS as a whole. In addition, they’ve obtained a paltry three points away from home, drawing three times. Simply put, goals are needed if the Fire want out of the MLS cellar.

The club currently have three designated players in David Accam, Kennedy Igboanaike and Shaun Maloney, therefore, the club would need to use the new Target Allocation Money rule to pay down the salary of one of the three existing designated players. But like LA Galaxy and Giovani Dos Santos, this can be done.

Those three players haven’t exactly set the town alight and Chicago Technical Director Brian Bliss needs to address several areas in building this team into more than a sixth place finisher in the east – with manager being one of them. 

Accam has played better of late, scoring four of his five goals in the Fire’s last six games. Overall, the Fire’s starting XI does lack quality, and watching former striker Quincy Amarikwa score twice last week for San Jose Earthquakes, must have made Chicago faithful sick to their stomachs. 

Drogba can certainly help Accam, allowing the Ghanaian to play off of him. Drogba would be the target man the Fire lack as Frank Yallop’s team love to play down the wings, crossing the ball with every chance they get. Always known for his bullish, aerial play, Drogba would be well-suited for the Fire’s style. 

Looking at the other side of the coin, an 18-month contract will see Drogba at Toyota Park until he’s at least 38. His body did hold up in the English Premier League during 2014/15 season, playing 28 games and notching four goals. Yet looking deeper, Drogba was used as a substitute 20 of those times, only racking up 856 minutes of playing time according to Whoscored.com

Theoretically, Drogba’s body should hold up for 18 months. Yet, with the league’s physical play and long distance travel schedule, an injury breakdown isn’t out of the realms of possibility. Though playing once or occasionally twice a week will allow his body to rest. 

Is Drogba a good designated player signing? As far as being a big name yes. In terms of goals, he should score his fair share; but that also depends on the service he is provided from teammates. 

Right now, no other big named strikers are floating around, but going the route of the Colorado Rapids and signing a player like Kevin Doyle, maybe more practical for Chicago.  

With the Fire sitting a mere six points from the last playoff place in the Eastern Conference, the team aren’t out of the hunt for the postseason. Signing a player of Drogba’s capabilities can make a sudden impact. But anything more than a playoff spot is wishful thinking in 2015. 

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that writes for World Soccer Talk. Drew has contributed to Radio Yorkshire, Forza Italian Football, Bleacher Report, MLSGB and Soccerly. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, British football and the USA’s Major League 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Erik

    July 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    The Fire don’t need some aged target forward. They have Guly for that. What they need is better centerback play and health. Our front four is Shipp, Accam, Maloney, and Igboaninike which, once they have time to play together, will do just fine. And that isn’t even considering Magee as a fantastic second striker.

  2. MntD

    July 23, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Drogba playing for any MLS team (even though he is considered older) will help for a couple years at least.

    Sign another young striker he can mentor and then you have a longer term plan.

  3. toryblue

    July 23, 2015 at 4:30 am

    the problem the Chicago Fire have isn’t signing this over-the-hill player. it’s the utter disinterest the city of Chicago has in soccer, and it’s thorough lack of enthusiasm and interest in the Chicago Fire, a team that isn’t acknowledged in any way, shape, or form in the city and surrounding area. ask the average Chicagoan about the Chicago Fire, and they’ll start talking about the television show. that’s their problem.

    • Eplnfl

      July 23, 2015 at 6:14 am

      Toryblue for some reason thinks that Chicago hates soccer. I have provided him the evidence before that this is untrue and he should move on from that idea.

      Now the popularity of the Fire is other matter. The Fire’s popularity at this point in time is clearly linked to their lack of on field production and lack of any players who have any star attraction at all. The ownership of the Fire deserve all the blame in the world period. There is no effort as is going on all over the MLS to bring quality players to the team. Quietly they will say they are rebuilding but with only negative results so far and a failure to provide evidence of any overall plan for that.

      Now also lets give an assist to the MLS here. MLS refuses to expand the league in the Midwest. Frankly while other areas have teams stacked up to create the regional battles and rivals Chicago is left out on a island. Expansion has not happened in the areas to promote interest in Chicago, like St. Louis, Milwaukee, Detriot, and Indy. After some attempt to appeal to the large Mexican American population in Chicago that came out to the games during the Blanco tenure in Chicago little is being done now by the Team or League to further appeal to Mexican American fans.

      So the signing of one over the hill player may sell a few more seasons tickets but produce little long run change. Ownership has to become truly interested in the City and the Team which has been lacking. The League has to spotlight the Midwest market and return to the heartland of America. Ten years ago the Chicago Blackhawks hardly registered in the Chicago sports scene. Now they can bring 3 million people to their Champioship celebrations.

      • toryblue

        July 25, 2015 at 4:21 am

        have you been to Chicago? ever lived there? because i can tell you the conversation and enthusiasm around soccer in that town is less than zero. and crowds for a few World Cup games do not mean that soccer has a grip on the city. that’s nothing more than patriotic pride that doesn’t carry over to soccer in the aftermath of meaningful international competition. so we’re going to disagree on soccer’s popularity in the city.

        now when it comes to the Fire, we don’t think that different at all. comparisons to the Blackhawks don’t sit well with me, though. the Blackhawks have a deep legacy within the city that traces back to the beginnings of the NHL. the Fire do not have that kind of history. and at the rate they are going, they won’t have much more history for long.

    • Annoyingracoon01

      July 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Parts of your comment are true. Ive gone out to a couple fire games this year and there are some good die hard fans, but majority of people dont even know chicago has a soccer team. Many people dont want to drive to Toyota park (myself included) because of its bad location and lack of public transit. The fire have also made horrible choices when it comes to signing dps. Hopefully the fire sign a big name like Drogba.

      • eplnfl

        July 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

        The drive to Toyota Park seems to be of concern if your living in the City. For suburban fans its easier to drive to Toyota Park then into the City for a game.

        As far as not knowing the Chicago has a team its more like not caring. The Blackhawks gain provide a good example where 10,000 people would show up game after game. We all see how that has increased.

        • toryblue

          July 25, 2015 at 4:25 am

          saying that people in Chicago don’t know about the Fire is actually pretty accurate. and of those that do know, most don’t care. because if they did care, the Fire wouldn’t have trouble selling out a 18,000 seat stadium. and they do.

          • Drew

            July 26, 2015 at 11:45 am

            I never like the idea that people don’t come to games b/c the stadium is difficult to get to. If you put out a winning team, people will come out.

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