All this fuss about Torres at Chelsea had me thinking about Didier Drogba’s first season for us. Back in the 2004/05 season, I remember doing nothing but defending the Ivorian when everyone but me seemed to think we’d got a £24 million flop on our hands.
Fair enough, Drogba scored in his third game for us against Palace but his ten Premier League goal haul, given that back then £24 million was a shitload of money, didn’t seem like much of a return for the critics.
The two months he spent out with pulled stomach muscles didn’t do him any favours either, considering he was already regarded as a bit lightweight at that time. But to be fair to Drogba, whilst he wasn’t banging in the goals we’d hoped he would for that sort of money, for me, his game at that time was more about his overall contribution. He was a workhorse – that fact just seemed to be overlooked because it wasn’t what we’d paid the hefty transfer fee for apparently.
Needless to say, once the theatrics came into the equation as well, our Ivorian striker was on a hiding to nothing and it wasn’t just the opposition or press on his back because he was getting it from the ever expectant home support as well. His apparent ‘poor first touch’ and the fact that he ‘missed sitters’ had him being slated from all quarters the minute his foot was inside the Stamford Bridge gates. Not that Chelsea are ever impatient of course.
So, maybe it’s not really surprising everyone’s on Torres’ case given his price tag – which in relative terms probably equates to Drogba’s almost 7 years back – but it might serve some to remember what happened with Drogba once he’d got through his first season. No, I don’t mean the acquisition of a sniper or the constant threats to leave, I’m talking about the goals that eventually did come (33 in the 2006/07 season wasn’t too shoddy) and his vital role at Chelsea.
Let’s not forget that in Torres, we haven’t just signed a player who’s just won Player of the Year for his previous club, we signed a player who had been out of sorts for a while. In spite of that, he’s just come into a new set-up and looks to be improving every game. He’s where he needs to be and just like Drogba, he will find his feet – and his shooting boots will be on the end of them!