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Neil Warnock Once Turned Down The Chance To Sign Didier Drogba For Just £100,000

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Neil Warnock Once Turned Down The Chance To Sign Didier Drogba For Just £100,000

Neil Warnock admits he once turned down an opportunity to sign Didier Drogba for just £100,000 during his time in charge of Sheffield United.

United were a Championship club when Warnock was tipped off about Drogba, who was playing for French second division side Le Mans at the time.

Laurent D'Jaffo, who played for United between 2000 and 2002, urged Warnock to sign Drogba but was unavailable to convince his manager.

Warnock missed the chance to sign a young Didier Drogba (Image: PA)
Warnock missed the chance to sign a young Didier Drogba (Image: PA)
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Drogba would later join Guincamp and Marseille before moving to Chelsea in a £24m transfer in 2004.

When asked if a missed transfer target had ever come back to haunt him, Warnock told talkSPORT: “I think every manager has one.

“Usually it's a striker, with a manager. The main one early in my career, I had a French lad play for me, Laurent D'Jaffo, he said to me ‘Gaffer I've seen a player for you in second division in France, very good, £100,000’.

“I said ‘£100,000? That a lot for a second division French player. What's his name?’. He said ‘Drogba’.

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“I said we cant pay £100,000 for a second division French player.

“You all know what happened to him in the end, Drogba. That was my biggest [missed opportunity] I don't think I could have had a bigger loss than that one.”

Drogba would go on to have an incredible career at Chelsea, winning 12 major trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge including the Premier League four times.

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He would also play a huge role in Chelsea's Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 2012, equalising with a header late in the match to send it to extra time before scoring the winning penalty after the game had gone to a shootout.

Drogba would go on to win the Premier League four times and the Champions League after joining Chelsea (Image: PA)
Drogba would go on to win the Premier League four times and the Champions League after joining Chelsea (Image: PA)

Drogba would eventually leave Chelsea in 2012 to join Shanghai Shenhua but would return for a second spell in west London in 2014.

After a single season back at the club, he left for the MLS and Montreal Impact, before ending his career with Phoenix Rising in 2018.

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Drogba remains fourth on Chelsea’s all-time top scorers list, with 164 goals in 381 games.

Just think about what might have been, Blades fans…

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Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Chelsea, Didier Drogba, Football, Premier League, Transfers, Sheffield United, EFL Championship, Neil Warnock

Rory O'Callaghan
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