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Drogba flies in to cut a deal with Chelsea

Chelsea hope to complete the third biggest transfer in British football in the next 48 hours, with Marseille’s Didier Drogba expected to sign for a club record fee of 26m. The Ivory Coast international is set to meet Chelsea representatives in London today to canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet discuss a four-year contract.

With Jose Mourinho anxious to finalise his squad before travelling to the United States on Wednesday, and Marseille eager to find a replacement for Drogba – they are chasing the Czech striker Jan Koller – both clubs have been keen to conclude negotiations. Any doubts that the deal might not go through were assuaged when Chelsea increased their initial bid of 19m, rejected last week, to meet the French club’s valuation.

“A definite decision will be taken at the start of the week,” said the Marseille president, Christophe Bouchet. “It must be done quickly so as not to affect the preparations of Marseille or Chelsea.”

Mourinho has been keen to secure the signing of Drogba after Hernan Crespo’s exit left Chelsea with only three recognised strikers. Furthermore, of those only Mateja Kezman is regarded as a natural goalscorer, with Eidur Gudjohnsen and Adrian Mutu often playing in withdrawn roles.

The size of the fee also suggests that the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has now spentmore than 200m during his tenure at Stamford Bridge, has not been deterred by the expensive failure of Juan Sebastian Vern and Crespo. Both players arrived during the Russian’s first season at Chelsea but have departed on season-long loans, with Chelsea still contributing to their salaries at Internazionale and Milan.

The prospect of Drogba playing alongside Kezman will burlington coat factory canada goose coat excite Chelsea supporters who watched the Serbian score to salvage a draw in a friendly at Oxford on Saturday. Although Chelsea appeared jaded – something Mourinho attributed to his demanding pre-season training schedule- Kezman looked particularly sharp.

Indeed, given that Kezman womens, a proven goalscorer, cost 5m, the size of Chelsea’s outlay on Drogba – only Vern and Rio Ferdinand have commanded larger transfer fees in Britain – might be deemed excessive for a player that Marseille paid 3.3m for when he joined from Guingamp last year. Moreover, Drogba has enjoyed only two prolific seasons since he made his professional debut with the Second Division side Le Mans in 1999.

However, Mourinho will point to Drogba’s impressive record with Marseille last year, during which he averaged roughly a goal a game in Uefa Cup and Champions League matches, helping the French club to the final of the former competition. Equally, the 26-year-old’s combination of pace and strength suggests that he has the right attributes to succeed in the Premiership, something Liverpool and Newcastle will bear testament to, having struggled to contain him in the Uefa Cup last season.

Drogba’s path to the top has not followed the traditional route. Separated from his family in the Ivory Coast at the age of five because of the lack of opportunities at home, Drogba moved to France to live with his uncle, Michel Goba, a journeyman professional footballer.

Drogba quickly developed an appetite for football and buy canada goose jacket toronto his goalscoring prowess as a youth player at the amateur club Levalloys began to attract attention. Paris St-Germain offered him a place at their academy but the striker declined, citing the lack of opportunities to break into the first team. Instead he opted to join Le Mans, where under the tutelage of the youth team manager Marc Westerlotte – whom Drogba refers to as his “spiritual father” – his football skills were honed.

Despite making his debut at the 20, Drogba struggled to make an impact average canada goose coat 1000 calorie bariatric diet price for a canada goose jacket and in two of his first three seasons failed to score. Indeed it was not until Guingamp signed Drogba for 100,000 buy canada goose jacket online cheap in 2001 that his career began to flourish. Despite Guingamp’s relegation in 2003 Drogba scored 18 goals, which propelled him from a virtual unknown to the most sought after player in French football. Marseille were at the front of the queue.

Britain’s six biggest gambles

Rio Ferdinand

Leeds Utd to Man Utd 30m

Became the world’s most expensive defender after signing in July 2002 but has yet to repay Sir Alex Ferguson’s faith in him despite some classy moments. Eight-month ban for failing to show up to a drug test has not helped.

Juan Vern

Lazio to Man Utd 28.1m

One of the world’s most sought-after players when he signed for United in 2001 but only two years and 75 games later he was offloaded to Chelsea at a 13m loss. Now on loan at Inter.

Didier Drogba

Marseille to Chelsea 26m

Signed from Guingamp in 2003, the Ivory Coast player scored key goals in buying cheap canada goose outlet jacket online Europe last season, including one against Liverpool and a double against Newcastle in the Uefa Cup semi-final.

Ruud van canada goose coat 1000 calorie diets Nistelrooy

PSV Eindhoven to Man Utd 19m

The Dutchman finally arrived at Old Trafford in 2001 after United delayed the deal for a year following a knee injury. Has scored a phenomenal 110 goals in 136 games for canada goose coat 1000 bulbs led the club but has had a lacklustre 2004.

Hernn Crespo

Internazionale to Chelsea 16.8m

Major failure at Stamford Bridge, playing only 20 games in his one season there. Chelsea even agreed to pay part of his wages after letting to let him go to Milan on a season’s loan.

Alan Shearer

Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle Utd 15m

Premiership record is second to none and now within reach of Jackie Milburn’s club record after his 1996 move buy canada goose jacket toronto to St James’. Singleminded ambition can, however, be a thorn in his manager’s side.