Jose Mourinho has revealed details of how he demanded Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich sign Didier Drogba in 2004.
Ivory Coast international Drogba was a late comer to top level football, only turning pro at the age of 21 with French side Le Mans.
His impressive form soon earned him a move Guingamp and then Marseille, but he was still relatively unknown when Mourinho decided he wanted to bring the striker to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea would pay Marseille £24 million to bring the forward to West London in the summer of 2004, with Mourinho revealing that he was so intent on signing the player he basically told Abramovich to stop asking questions and just pay the fee.
“Drogba is the kind of guy who is so loyal that he never forgot that I took him from Marseille to the Premier League, where he was not even expected, because he didn’t start very young at that level,” Mourinho told beIN SPORTS.
“He had already played for Guingamp, Marseille, Le Mans, so when I took him to Chelsea I remember clearly Abramovich was asking me, ‘Who? Who do you want as a striker?’
“With all the big names in Europe at that time I said ‘Drogba’. (Abramovich replied) ‘Who is he? Where’s he playing?’ (I said) ‘Mr Abramovich – pay. Pay, and don’t speak.’
“And Didier was an iconic player for Chelsea, for the Premier League.”
Drogba would go on to become one of the most influential players in Chelsea’s history, scoring 104 Premier League goals and wining four top-flight titles, as well as converting the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final.