Report: José Mourinho reaches out to Didier Drogba about possible return to Chelsea

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A little Inside PST: When I (or, we) lead a headline with “Report”, it’s usually because we’re typing with a tinge of incredulity, but whereas most tabloid fodder gets scoffed at and allocated to a daily roundup, some of these admittedly thin reports are romantic enough to indulge with a little fantasy.

Besides, some moves we just want to happen. And this time when I say “we”, I mean the club soccer-loving world at large, because you must have the hardest of soccer-loving hearts (or support Arsenal or Leeds) if you don’t want to see Didier Drogba back at Chelsea.

According to French outlet Le 10 Sportthat possibility has moved ever so slightly closer to reality after new Chelsea boss José Mourinho placed a call to one of the players that defined the coach’s first tenure in London. That time after Mourinho joined Team Abramovich from Porto saw Drogba augment Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech (among others) in a core that won two Premier League titles. And with his old teammates still at Stamford Bridge, perhaps Drogba can be enticed to get the band back together.

The Ivorian international’s deal with Istanbul giant Galatasaray runs until the end of next season, which would make this the perfect time to move him, should the Super Lig champions be able to get anything for the 35-year-old striker. Even if they could get Chelsea to agree to visit Turkey for a preseason friendly next year, it might be worth it, as Gala have no shortage of attacking power. If they lost Drogba, they’d still get goals from Wesley Sneijder, Johan Elmander, Umut Bulut, and/or (if he sticks around) a little somebody named Burak Yilmaz, who scored eight goals in last year’s UEFA Champions League.

But how would  35-year-old striker help Chelsea? Honestly, who cares? I mean yes, ideally if Mourinho and Michael Emelano bring somebody in, he’d be a valuable contributor and help the Blues reclaim the league – all that stuff. But just as retaining Frank Lampard haf a sentimental purpose beyond what he’s contributing on the field, Didier Drogba’s return to Stamford Bridge transcends ‘footballing reasons.’ Arguably the best player to every suit up for the club, Drogba is just a Chelsea player, plain and simple.

If he’s only coming on for the last 30 minutes of important games, getting starts in cup competitions or against the Premier League’s relegation fodder, I don’t care. As a fan of the sport, I can get behind Didier Drogba being reunited with José Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in the same way I was excited when Thierry Henry was loaned to Arsenal or Paul Scholes came out of retirement for a final year-and-a-half at Manchester United.

No matter which club you support, some things just feel right. And Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge? Yeah. We need to make this happen.

FA Cup Final preview: Desperate Arsenal meets Double-seeking Blues

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  • Clubs split PL series
  • Chelsea’s Conte aims for double
  • Chelsea 8W-3D-2L vs. Arsenal since 2012

Arsenal and Chelsea face off with a trophy on the line for the fourth time this century when the London sides hit Wembley Stadium for Saturday’s FA Cup Final.

Arsenal beat Chelsea in the 2015 Community Shield, the first silverware match-up between the two sides since the 2007 League Cup Final in Wales. The Blues won that one, 2-1, while Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 in the 2002 FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Conte open to contract extension ]

A win would be Arsenal’s third FA Cup trophy in four seasons, and Arsenal would be thrilled to put something shiny in its trophy case following a season of tumult at the Emirates Stadium which ended without UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years.

Conte knows Arsenal is desperate for something good.

What they’re saying

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on what a win could mean“We wanted to finish higher up in the league, there is no doubting that. We cannot hide from that and we need to own up to that. The FA Cup is a big trophy, one we want to win and which would definitely boost morale going into next season.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte on the match: “If you ask me who is the favorite now, I can tell you it is Arsenal because Arsenal now has the possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup. For this reason, we must play with great patience. We must find in ourselves the right motivation, the right anger because the game can be very difficult for all of these reasons.”

Prediction

Could go either way, with many players not just glory-hunting but in the shop window. Will Alexis Sanchez be the difference maker? Mesut Ozil? Maybe, but we think Chelsea ratchets up the intensity one more time and claims a double with a 2-1 win.

Chelsea’s Conte open to extending his contract

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Antonio Conte is readying Chelsea for a bid at a season double, with the Blues meeting Arsenal on Saturday afternoon for an all-London FA Cup Final.

Conte is on a London-high himself, having led the Blues to a Premier League title in his first year in charge. He’s moving his family to the area, scooping up plenty of individual hardware, and has dynastic aims for the Stamford Bridge set.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup latest

His first deal was for three years, and Conte is thinking beyond that now.

From the BBC:

“If the club give me the possibility to stay and extend my contract, for sure I’m available to. … We have the same idea about the future, the way we have to do together, to improve the squad and the team.”

How they improve the squad will be interesting, as veterans Cesc Fabregas, Willian, and Diego Costa have uncertain futures at the Bridge. But why wouldn’t Conte sign a bumper new deal after wild first year success?

Off to slow start, Morris, Seattle know “things can change quickly”

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Both Jordan Morris and the Seattle Sounders are off to a rough start in defense of their MLS Cup title last Fall, and the USMNT’s star striker admits to recalling last season’s wild turnaround as an inspiration.

“After the game last week we mentioned that we have a lot of the nucleus from last year and we all know that things can change quickly,” Morris said to ProSoccerTalk this week.

Seattle won just seven games before Matchday 22 last season, rebounding with a burst after coach Sigi Schmid was replaced by assistant Brian Schmetzer. The Sounders went 8-2-2 down the stretch en route to an MLS Cup win over Toronto FC.

While he hasn’t scored in five matches and only has two markers in 12 games, he feels success is coming for the 3W-5L-4T Sounders. Morris said the club knows the results aren’t there, but also that they are producing chances.

[ MORE: Monaco star’s Man City medical ]

“It’s been okay,” Morris said. “Definitely not the start I would’ve wanted. It’s not an excuse but we’ve hit a lot of posts and had other near misses.”

Seattle has a huge opportunity to flip the script on its season when Cascadia Cup rivals Portland visit on Saturday. The free-scoring Timbers are dangerous in attack, but have been opened up 20 times this season. Only two teams have conceded more goals than Portland (which has played the most matches in the league, it must be said).

And it may or may not surprise fans that Morris’ focus has been one of his strengths: the final product.

“I’m working on the final third, whether it’s shooting or finding the open guy,” Morris said. “It’s a big deal for us to finish our chances. Scoring or the final pass in that final third.”

Despite his relatively cold start, it would be surprising if Bruce Arena didn’t tab Morris in his crop for next month’s World Cup qualifiers. The 22-year-old also seems relatively certain to be a part of the Gold Cup plans.

“I’m excited and hopefully I get called up,” he said. “These World Cup qualifiers are obviously a very big deal and Bruce has done a really good job of getting us on the same page.”

Morris is also participating in a unique promotional activity with Delta Air Lines for Sounders fans, as he and Cristian Roldan are among Seattle players picking fans for “positions” in a Fan XI. Once assembled, they’ll travel to L.A. for a Sounders road match and even sign one-day contracts. Morris was happy to get on board with it.

“It’s for our fans, who are amazing,” he said. “Delta’s idea to make a Fan XI gives the fansa chance to have the behind the scenes experience of being part of a team put together by having different skills. We love rewarding our fans.”

Day Seven: All the action from the U20 World Cup (video)

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Mexico has automatically qualified for the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup despite falling to Venezuela.

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Germany dropped below Mexico in goal differential after allowing a 3-0 lead to sink to one, though El Tri still likely would’ve advanced to the next phase despite Germany’s result.

Mexico 0-1 Venezuela

Caracas 19-year-old striker Sergio Cordova scored for the third-straight match in what is sure to make him a hot summer commodity as Venezuela clinched Group B with a perfect 3-0 record.

Germany 3-2 Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s potential name of the tournament Bong Kalo scored twice in the second half to sink Germany below Mexico on goal difference.

Guinea 0-5 Argentina

A brace from Lautaro Martínez gives Argentina hope of the knockout rounds with a third-place finish.

England 1-0 South Korea

Everton’s Kieran Dowell scored the lone goal of the match to give England the Group A crown.