Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba and Jose Mourinho – destined for a reunion at the Bridge

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Chelsea fan or not – few will deny that the prospect of Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba reuniting at Chelsea next season doesn’t tickle your footballing fancy. And with the manager refusing to rule out a return to his former club and the player admitting he would be interested in coming back to West London, the dream reunion is looking all the more likely.

While in London last week for the friendly between Brazil and Russia, Mourinho admitted that he plans on returning to the Premier League and would not rule out a return to Chelsea. “I cannot deny that, despite this weather, I love it here, and as I said I have a house and I have big emotional connections with Chelsea and one day I think naturally I will have to be back to English football, or to Chelsea or to another club.”

Mourinho’s comments – paired with news that Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez will move on at the end of the season regardless of what happens in the Europa League and FA Cup – had the Premier League salivating over the possibility of his return. On Wednesday, Drogba added fuel to the fire when he said that if Chelsea want to return to the top of the Premier League there’s only one man for the job.

“I think for the club it is the best solution to bring Jose back,” Drogba told the Guardian . “The fans want him back. He loves Chelsea.I don’t think he has got over Chelsea and they haven’t got over him.”

Mourinho is a lover of narratives. He went to Chelsea to win the Premier League, to Inter to win the Serie A (and the Champions League) and to Real Madrid to try and become the first manager to win the Champions League in three different countries. So what’s the Special One’s storyline for a return to Stamford Bridge? Drogba fills in the blanks.

“When [Mourinho] came [to Chelsea] he brought success; we won league titles back-to-back with some great football and the only thing he didn’t win was the Champions League,” Drogba said. “Maybe that is one of the reasons why he might want to come back. It is unfinished business.”

When asked of his potential role in that unfinished business, Drogba initially took a political approach. “Let me finish at Galatasaray first and then we will talk about that,” Drogba said.

But eventually, the 35 year old couldn’t help but admit that he could be tempted to work with Mourinho again. “Why not?” Drogba added. “It would be interesting.” Like Mourinho, Drogba has a special connection to West London. “I feel at home when I go to London. When I go to Chelsea’s training ground I feel like I can walk around with my eyes closed and know where I am going.”

For now, however, the striker claims that he’s happy with the Turkish giants and is looking forward to guiding Galatasaray to a semi-final berth in Europe’s premier club competition. To make that happen he not only needs to defeat his mentor but plenty of former Blues as well. “It’s going to be different because I play against José, who is ex-Chelsea, Michael (Essien), who is ex-Chelsea, and Ricardo Carvalho, who is ex-Chelsea,” Drogba said.

The return of Mourinho and Drogba to Chelsea would provide drama of the highest level. But only one man, Roman Abramovich, can make that happen.

Popular opinion suggests that the Russian’s once frosty relationship with Mourinho has since thawed but the issue remains – can two of football’s biggest egos co-exist at the same club? And what message would Abramovich be sending to his players by bringing Drogba back? Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku certainly won’t be impressed. And what about Frank Lampard? After refusing to offer the 34 year old a new contract, is signing the 35 year old Drogba a slap in the face?

It should be an interesting summer at the Bridge.

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
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Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

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With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.