BPL Transfer Notebook: Drogba returns to the Bridge, Palace ink Frazier Campbell

didier-drogba

By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

Didier Drogba made a habit of terrozing defenses in his first spell at Chelsea. He will now look to do the same as he returns on a one-year contract.

Leaving after scoring the winning penalty in a shootout against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, Drogba headed to Shanghai and then Turkey with Galatasaray. With his contract up at the Turkish club, the 36-year-old striker was free to move wherever he wanted.

He will now reunite with the manager, who brought him over from Marseille in 2004 – Jose Mourinho. Drogba scored 157 times in 341 appearances for the Blues.  However, the sentimental factor was taken out of the decision, according to Sky Sports.

“He’s coming because he’s one of the best strikers in Europe,” Mourinho said.  “I know his personality very well and I know if he comes back he’s not protected by history or what he’s done for this club previously. He is coming with the mentality to make more history.”

Drogba scored nine times in nine cup finals in his first spell along with 34 total goals in European competition, which is a Chelsea record.

“It was an easy decision – I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again,” said the Ivorian striker. “Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me.

“My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team. I am excited for this next chapter of my career.”

Crystal Palace bolsters attack

Although Cardiff City was relegated, one of their bright spots was the play of Frazier Campbell. Now the English striker has latched back on with a Premier League side, signing a three-year contract with Crystal Palace.

Palace were Premier League strugglers for much of last season until Tony Pulis took over. The club then were in sparkling form en route to surviving relegation. The club will now look to push on even further and Campbell could be key in that.

The 26-year-old scored six times in the league last season and will look to combine well with recently re-signed Marouane Chamakh.

“I am delighted to sign on the dotted line and become a Crystal Palace player and now I am really looking forward to being part of this club and meeting the other lads,” Campbell said to the club’s official website.

“Last season this club made great progress, I remember the run of games without defeat and from when Tony Pulis came in he got the club moving up the league.

“Around Christmas looking in at this club it looked like Palace were dead and buried but the gaffer breathed some fresh life into the club and added to the squad to help the team push up to 11th.”

Campbell will hope for a much better finish than being relegated last season.

“This is a great opportunity for myself to, firstly, get back in the Premier League and also have the chance to be around a great manager and some fantastic players,” Campbell added.

“The last couple of weeks have been frustrating for me but I can’t wait to get started now in the red and blue of Crystal Palace.”

Transfer Chatter

1. Balotelli to Arsenal?– Mario Baoltelli was known for his antics as well as his on field play in his time in England with Manchester City. Could the Italian striker be on his way back? AC Milan could be willing to let him go for as little as £7.9 million with Joel Campbell thrown in to sweeten the deal. (From Metro)

2. Southampton raided again– With some of the most promising English talent in the country, it hasn’t taken long for Southampton to be dismantled. Arsenal are looking to pick off the rest of the meat that remains on the South Coast club’s carcass. The Gunners are near completing a deal for Calum Chambers, who can play right back. His arrival could see current deputy right back Carl Jenkinson move on from the club. (From the Daily Mail)

3. Everton want Lukaku stay– After a successful season on loan last term, Everton are hoping to keep Romelu Lukaku. If they are able to sign him from Chelsea, it would be a club record deal. Lukaku is rated around £20 million. Everton manager Roberto Martinez hasn’t ruled out trying to get the striker on loan again. (From The Guardian)

4. Manchester United want Strootman– Over the last few years, the weakness at Manchester United has been the strength of their midfield. Having already added Ander Herrera and may look to bolster it further with AS Roma’s Kevin Strootman. United manager Louis van Gaal would have brought the Dutch midfielder to the World Cup, but an injury ruled him out. A move for Strootman may not be for this window, as van Gaal would like to see how he returns from injury. (From Sky Sports)